In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus speaks of the “fool who lays up for himself and is not rich toward God.” Fr. Gregory contrasts this foolishness with wisdom, drawing from the the Old Testament wisdom literature, specifically the Wisdom of Ben Sirach. He points out four things from this book about wisdom and its relation toward giving.
First, chapter 3 verse 30 says “almsgiving atones for sins.” Sacrificial giving atones for the sins of those we love and give in the memory of, as well as for ourselves. Second, we learn from the Wisdom of Ben Sirach that the wise person is gracious to the poor. God himself hears the cries of the poor and becomes their redeemer. We should be gracious to the poor as he is. Third, chapter 29 says that sacrificial giving becomes a spiritual treasury against evil and is likened to putting on the whole armor of God against the evil one. Fourth, the Wisdom of Ben Sirach, as well as Jesus in the New Testament, teaches us to give our tithe cheerfully.
In this way, we can be “rich toward God,” and follow Jesus’ example, who was wisdom personified, wisdom incarnate.