First Reading: Wisdom 1:13-15, 2:23-24
We're Better Than That
13 God did not make death,
nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.
14 For he fashioned all things that they might have being;
and the creatures of the world are wholesome,
and there is not a destructive drug among them
nor any domain of the netherworld on earth,
for justice is undying.
23 For God formed man to be imperishable;
the image of his own nature he made him.
24 But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world,
and they who belong to his company experience it.
New American Bible
Have you ever felt unworthy? Have you shaken off those feelings?
At least one point in life, everyone feels they are undeserving or unworthy. Usually this feeling stems from disappointment or futility. I'm incapable. Life isn't going my way. I just can't please others. The only way to shake those feelings is to reaffirm faith in God. God didn't make us to wallow in our self pity. We're better than that.
Faith can be a good defense against those thoughts of limitation, even depression. Faith tells the world that God's in charge. He made us for himself. And we are his children. Evil and fatalism have no room in a life with God.
The verses above from the book of Wisdom (also called "The Wisdom of Solomon") form a loose defense of Judaism in the centuries before the birth of Christ. This defense was set against the Hellenistic world, a culture that tolerated many gods and reduced religion to the cultic manipulation of those gods. Unlike the Greeks who viewed faith as a social function, the author of Wisdom urged his readers to take their faith to heart, to make a relationship with YHWH personal. It also defended the peculiar tenet of resurrection found in Pharisaical Judaism.
Chapter 1 in Wisdom wove morality and eternity together. The righteous man will enjoy the resurrection. Indeed, God did not intend death when he created the cosmos, nor does he enjoy the death of his creatures. Just as his virtues are unending, so is humanity, for death is, by definition, unjust.
Chapter 2 took a different tack. It defended the doctrine of the resurrection against the Hellenistic view of fatalism. Life, according to Wisdom 2, is not merely subject the whims of the gods or a universe that is indifferent to one's actions. It is not empty or useless. The shortness of life does not excuse selfishness or the oppression of the good by the selfish. One's actions in life have consequences. YHWH created everyone for immortality. Evil deprived humanity of that gift.
Why are we better than the opinion the world has of us? We are better because God made us for himself. He is the eternal God, and he shares that gift of forever with us. Evil and fatalism cannot take that gift away from us.
How does your faith in God bolster your hope in eternal life?