Commentary on the Gospel of
My mother and her mother were my wisdom figures. They were women who instilled in me a strong belief that I was deeply loved by God and by each of them. They taught by their words and actions and shaped a foundation for my life.
As I read the words of Sirach in today’s first reading: Wisdom breathes life into her children…I immediately felt a rush of emotion while I pictured my mother and grandmother breathing life into me and all of my siblings. Those who seek her will be embraced by God…those who serve her serve the Holy One; those who love her God loves…It is my belief that mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and women in general throughout the history of humankind have shared their wisdom and breathed life into our human condition over and over again. Through them we have received life-giving breath from God.
Wisdom is frequently referred to in scripture in feminine terms. Thanks to the wisdom figures in my own life, it has always been easy for me to image wisdom as feminine and this image has often taken my prayer to a very deep place.
The Book of Sirach has many pieces and bits of wisdom. Sirach was written by a Jewish scribe who lived in Jerusalem in the early third century BC. His name was Jesus, son of Eleazar, son of Sirach, and was known as Ben Sira…The book of Sirach addresses many issues related to being human…Its focus is to help the reader know how to live within the covenant, how to be faithful to God even in the small things….Like other authors of wisdom literature, he praises wisdom and personifies it as a virtuous woman to be earnestly sought (4: 14-15)…Many of its lessons are not new or startling, but they are tried and true principles about how to live in the light of God. Each one is meant to be food for meditation and prayer. 1
As Sirach invites us to pray and meditate on the feminine aspects of wisdom, let us imagine a special woman in our lives either past or present who has breathed life into us through her wisdom.