Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sunday Knox for the Feast of the Holy Family: Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14

Speak we now of a father’s rights; do you, sons, give good heed, and follow these counsels, if thrive you would.  God will have children honour their fathers; a mother’s rights are his own strict ordinance. A lover of God will fall to prayer over his sins and sin no more; so, all his life long, his prayer shall find audience. … riches he lays up for himself, that gives his mother her due.[1] As thou wouldst have joy of thy own children, as thou wouldst be heard when thou fallest to praying, honour thy father still. My son, when thy father grows old, take him to thyself; long as he lives, never be thou the cause of his repining.  Grow he feeble of wit, make allowance for him, nor in thy manhood’s vigour despise him. The kindness shewn to thy father will not go forgotten; favour it shall bring thee in acquittal of thy mother’s guilt.[2] 

Knox Notes:
[1] vv. 4, 5: The Latin version here inserts a sentence which seems out of place (perhaps belonging to the end of the foregoing chapter); it omits the words given in the Greek text: ‘He who honours his father will atone for his own sins’.
[2] In the Greek text, the giver of alms atones not for his mother’s sin, but for his own. Cf. however Ps. 50.7.


God sets a father in honor over his children;
a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.
Whoever honors his father atones for sins,
and preserves himself from them.
When he prays, he is heard;
he stores up riches who reveres his mother.
Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children,
and, when he prays, is heard.
Whoever reveres his father will live a long life;
he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother.

My son, take care of your father when he is old;
grieve him not as long as he lives.
Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him;
revile him not all the days of his life;
kindness to a father will not be forgotten,
firmly planted against the debt of your sins
—a house raised in justice to you.

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