25th Week, Wednesday, Sept 23

Proverbs 30:5-9 / Luke 9:1-6

Proverbs speaks about human needs: Let me be neither rich nor poor.  

On Thanksgiving Day, 1985, 175 syndicated cartoonists banded together to give 90 million readers of some 2,000 papers in the United States the same message: While we feast on plenty, many go hungry. Typical of the cartoons was Peanuts. It showed Linus asking Charlie Brown if he were going to have a big Thanksgiving dinner. Charlie says, in effect, "I guess so, but I don't think that much about food." 

Snoopy overhears him, looks at his empty dish, and says to himself, "You think about it a lot when there's nothing in your dish." Perhaps the next worst thing to having nothing to eat is having too much. It makes us insensitive to the hungry  and ungrateful to God. 


The court of Solomon had been a beehive of intellectual life, not only for Israel, but for the surrounding countries. Wisdom knows no boundaries. At his court he had also his numerous wives collected from all the surrounding countries. He mad married the daughter of Pharaoh. Whether through her or through other wise men, he knew of Egyptian maxims of Amenemophis. The reading of today is said to be the saying of Agur, whose collected some proverbs. He hails from Northern Arabia. We read here the prayer of a wise man: He prays for 

two gifts: the first, sincerity in thinking and speaking; and the second: enough to live. Both: too much wealth and too little, keep man away from God. To have too little makes a man think only of earthly things and makes a thief or even makes a man curse God. To have too much makes man forget God, he does not need God any more. 



How sensitive are we to the hungry? How grateful to God are we for our plenty? "In the middle you will find virtue."  An old Latin saying 


Now the training of the apostles for their future work becomes 

more practical. This is not the sending out to the whole world. It’s still an exercise in the real life condition, an experiment. They have to learn and come back to report to Jesus and exchange their experiences. They are given clear instructions. He told what they can and may do. He gave them power and authority. They are sent to preach the Kingdom and to heal. He cares for the soul and the body. As throughout history, Church and charity go hand in hand. Faith and love lead to each other. Vocation leads to mission. Vocation calls towards Jesus. Mission sends them out to people. Jesus stresses poverty. His apostles have to live simple lives. Take nothing for the journey: neither  Staff not haversack, neither bread nor money. Neither should they make demands. They should not waste their time when they are rejected, shake the dust from their feet as the orthodox Jews do when they had to enter the house of a pagan. They should not make demands. Accept the hospitality that is offered, but do not go and change the house just because this new house would be more comfortable. That is what they are told. 




We may like to be rich but maybe not too rich. And of course, we don't like to be too poor, although we may still be able to manage it. But of course, it won't be that comfortable. But whether in poverty or with plenty, we won't want to be at both the extreme ends. In reality, what we really want is that we can have enough for our needs.

In the 1st reading, that is what the writer of the book of Proverbs is saying as he asks of the Lord: "Two things I beg of you, do not grudge me them before I die. Keep falsehood and lies far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches, grant me only my share of bread to eat." But more than just asking God to provide enough for his needs, the writer goes on to say: "For fear that surrounded by plenty, I should fall away and say, 'The Lord - who is the Lord?', or else, in destitution, take to stealing and profane the name of the Lord."

So having too much and having nothing can have problems in that we forget that God can provide for our needs. And that is what Jesus is telling His disciples as He send them out for the mission as He said to them, "Take nothing for the journey ... "

He wants them to experience that they will have enough for their needs because God will provide. Yes, God will provide for our needs. When we have enough, let us give thanks to God, and when we have excess, let us also help others in their need.


Let us Pray:   Lord our God, your mercy extends to everyone. Let your missionary Church go out to all without any self-imposed, useless baggage that obscures the pure message of the gospel but with great humility before the good will and the hospitality of people. May thus our receptivity to people make them in turn receptive to the good news of Jesus Christ our Lord.