The below reading from Ecclesiasticus was from today’s Office of Readings. It reminds us that our reward for following Christ does not come in this world, but the next, and that the sinner’s reward as well does not come in this world but the next. It is an important fact to remember and is put beautifully in this reading. Our world today is markedly unfair. The rich who created this recession were bailed out, while the rest of us are indebted as a result. The unborn are denied life and their killers are enriched with our tax dollars. It is good to remember that a gift of wealth might not be a gift at all, but a curse.
Put your trust in God alone
Another man is a poor creature begging for assistance,
badly off for support, but rich in poverty,
and the Lord turns a favourable eye on him,
sets him on his feet out of his abject condition,
and enables him to hold his head high,
to the utter amazement of many.
Good and bad, life and death,
poverty and wealth, all come from the Lord.
The Lord’s gift remains constant to the devout
and his goodwill means a good journey for ever.
A man grows rich by his sharpness and grabbing,
and here is the reward he receives for it:
he says, ‘I have found rest,
and now I can enjoy my goods’;
but he does not know how long this will last;
he will have to leave his goods for others and die.
Persevere at your duty, take pleasure in doing it,
and grow old at your work.
Do not be astonished at the sinner’s achievements;
trust the Lord and keep to your duty;
since it is a trifle in the eyes of the Lord,
in a moment, suddenly to make a poor man rich.
The devout man receives the Lord’s blessing as his reward,
in a moment God brings his blessing to flower.
Do not say, ‘What are my needs,
what will be my profits in future?’
And do not say, ‘I am self-supporting,
what losses can I suffer in future?’
In a time of profit, losses are forgotten,
and in a time of loss, no one remembers profits.
Yet it is a trifle for the Lord on the day a man dies
to repay him as his conduct deserves.
A moment’s adversity, and pleasures are forgotten;
in a man’s last hour his deeds will stand revealed.
Call no man fortunate before his death;
it is by his end that a man will be known.
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