06 Aug Tuesday
The Book of Wisdom is one of the last books to be composed in the Bible; it reflects Hellenistic culture, and so, it has its own context there. Overall, the message encourages the practice of the Jewish faith in the diaspora and in Palestine. Much like American culture overwhelms the church today (much of American Christianity is heretical by Gospel standards) and we succumb to and are shaped by the culture rather than the Gospel, we in a similar moment. Courage is the direct object of the first sentence of the first reading this coming weekend. We need courage in this culture to practice our faith.
One part of the heresy is the belief that we can save ourselves, surrounded as we are by such advanced technology and abundance of resource wealth. In truth, we’re not really waiting for salvation from the Lord, because we have taken matters into our own hands.
The divine institution is is the sacramental structure of the Church, governing the path to God’s salvation. Yet, we are far as Christians from “one accord”, divided as we are into denominations, factions, sects, and even cults of individualism. Another part of the American heresy is the incorporation of the rugged individualist into Christianity. There’s no Biblical basis.
The one thing is true is “your people awaited . . . the destruction of their foes”. This is a highly charged line in our culture today, given the rhetoric of the superiority of “The West” (whatever that means) and the lower status we attribute to brown and black peoples. Some see them as enemies, and this is another part of the heresy of American Christianity — it’s white supremacy threads that run through it. I include Catholicism here. This is not just an unfortunate part of our history, but remains subtly embedded in current practice, until we come clean and admit our racism, without adding any excuses.
Then again, I am rather amused myself by the satire and sarcasm of Heinrich Heine’s Prayer.