Day 288: Battling Against Gossip

1 Maccabees 7:1-20 Demetrius, the rightful heir to the Syrian monarchy who had been imprisoned in Rome for some years, returned to claim his throne and ordered the execution of both Lysias and Antiochus. Both the Hellenized Jews and the Hasideans began criticizing the Maccabees and asked the king to name the corrupt Alcimus as high priest. Demetrius complied, and sent Alcimus and the commander Bacchides to wage war on Judea. Alcimus now governed Judah.

Ch 7:21-50 Although outnumbered, Judas turned to God in prayer and his army won a great victory over the Syrian forces. The commemoration of this event became a minor Jewish feast called the “Day of Nicanor,” but it fell into disuse not long afterward. 

Sirach 19:1-30 Gossip and indiscretion are clear manifestations of a lack of both prudence and wisdom. An important condition for the capacity to discern wisely is a solid spiritual life and deep knowledge of moral law and its applications. (CCC 348, 1950)

Ch 19:17 Other ancient authorities add verses 18 and 19: “...and do not be angry. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of acceptance, and wisdom obtains his love. The knowledge of the Lord’s commandments is life-giving discipline; and those who do what is pleasing to him enjoy the fruit of the tree of immortality.”

Ch 19:20 Other ancient authorities add verse 21: “...and the knowledge of his omnipotence. When a servant says to his master, ‘I will not act as you wish,’ even if he does it, he angers the one who supports him.”

Ch 20:1-31 The wise person can identify easily a foolish person, who should not be taken seriously. The prudent and discrete individual listens and can be of great service in both instruction and correction, which are Spiritual Works of Mercy. (CCC 1793, 2447)

Ch 20:2 Other ancient authorities add verse 3: “How good it is to show repentance when you are reproved, for so you will escape deliberate sin!”

Ch 21:1-31 This chapter applies wisdom to practical details. From avoidance of near occasions of sin to the practice of good manners, the author contrasts the way of the foolish with the ways of the wise. 

Ch 21:28 The practice of temperance and self mastery includes curbing the tongue. This proverb should be understood as a severe warning against gossip, calumny, detraction, and other sins that can endanger the reputation of others. To speak ill of others so as to damage their good name is a serious offense. To gossip about matters that are untrue or unsubstantiated constitute slander and calumny, which are particularly grave offenses against the Eighth Commandment. (CCC 2477)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and we offer you our thanksgiving today. Thank you for continuing to direct us the right way to walk. We ask you to help us not only to know the right way to walk, but to choose it. Not only to know the right way to live, but to actually live that way. Without your Grace, Lord God, we can know but we can’t do. We can be aware but we can’t act. So please, help us not only to know your Law, to know your Will, to know your Wisdom, but to be wise and to walk in your Law and to walk in your Will this day and every day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”