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FINDING HOPE!

 “…Whoever fear the Lord are afraid of nothing and are never discouraged, for he is their hope.” (Sir. 34: 16).

WE DELVED A BIT into this week’s reflection with the 1st thought of last week’s reflection – God’s Providence. There we took time to dwell on the words of St Paul in Romans 5: 1-5, “…and we boast in hope of the glory of God…and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.”

First tThought – No hope in dreams

We start from last week’s thought where Sirach admonishes us to read more of the Law of God as more dependable and a divine oracle. This week as we read Sirach goes further when he said says, “Empty and false are the hopes of the senseless, and dreams give wings to fools”(Sir. 34:1). For Sirach, divination, omens, and dreams are unreal, they are more of what the mind desires.In rare exceptions, dreams are God sent messages to us and when we have God sent dreams, they are clear and real, not necessarily instant. Forinstance, Joseph the dreamer, Son of Jacob, we know he dreamt that he would rule over his father, mother, and brothers. Joseph in his pride rather than take time to think his dream through ended up in slavery and his dream came through the hard way (Gen. 41, 45). Also, recall that God through dreams gave instructionsto Joseph the Fosterfather of Jesus, first at the conception of Jesus, then fleeing to safety from Herod. Sirach concludes about dreams where he said, “…For dreams have led many astray,and those who put their hope in them have perished. Without such deceptions the Law will be fulfilled,and in the mouth of the faithful is complete wisdom.” (Sir, 34: 7-8).

Second Thought – Hope in the fear of God

Sirach exhorts us that whoever fears the Lord is afraid of nothing and are never discouraged, for he is their hope. (Sir. 34: 16), Hope he says is living in the fear of God in whom our hope lies (Sir. 34: 14 -15). Then reading further Sirach opens our minds to the happiness that awaits the soul that fears God, He says, “The eyes of the Lord are upon those who love him;he is their mighty shield and strong support,A shelter from the heat, a shade from the noonday sun, a guard against stumbling, a help against falling.”(Sir. 34: 17 -19)

Third thought – True worship

Sirach discourages the act of worship to God as show off – mere externalism, a state whereby we do good to be seen, this is similar to the story of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18: 9-14.To Sirach, gifts or praise from the lawless do not win God’s favour. (Sir. 34: 22). If we sin and offer our worship without true repentance, we are not right with God (Sir. 34: 23). If as Christians we are quick to castigate or put down others to show our superiority of faith or show who is more involved with the parish work, then we are not right with God, rather let us emulate St Paul where he said, “What is Apollos, after all, and what is Paul? Ministers through whom you became believers, just as the Lord assigned each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth. For we are God’s co-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building” (1st Cor. 3: 5-9 cf. Sir. 34:28).

-ADEOLA IGE ADELEKE

adeige06@gmail.com

 


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