Liturgical readings are available here.
The Book of Wisdom (composed in the first cent. BC) is chronologically the last book of the OT and although it is not recognized as canonical in Judaism, it still enjoyed popularity among the Jews. It also had a strong influence on some portions of the NT, especially on the gospel according to John.
Today’s reading talks about a just person who experiences persecution from his nation and it is remarkable how much this description reminds of the fate of Jesus.
- The just person styles himself a child of the LORD; He calls blest the destiny of the just and boasts that God is his Father, which anticipates Jesus who also claims to be Son of God.
- He professes to have knowledge of God. Jesus as well demonstrates an intimate knowledge of his Heavenly Father.
- The just person is obnoxious to his opponents; Reproaches them for transgressions of the law and charges them with violations of our training; he is the censure of their thoughts merely to see him is a hardship for them. Jesus too was a constant, living reproach to the people up to the point where they desired to kill him.
- The just person is humiliated and mocked by his opponents: Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him. This is the very experience of Jesus on the cross, who also faces mockery, but still calls to God.
The Book of Wisdom captures the experience of many faithful Jews in Diaspora who lived through persecution, mockery, and discrimination. It is in this situation that the author asserts superiority of God’s plan and control: they erred; for their wickedness blinded them. And they knew not the hidden counsels of God; neither did they count on a recompense of holiness nor discern the innocent souls’ reward. The suffering and persecution experienced and carried by an innocent person gains merit in God’s eyes and is rewarded.
Jesus carries the suffering and affliction of all those who are persecuted because of their faith and fidelity. He incorporates the destiny of people and he associates himself with each person who shares a similar fate. Jesus helps to carry mockery and reproaches. We are never alone in our lives.