First Reading: Wisdom 18:6-9

Salvation in the Midst of Destruction

6 That night was made known beforehand to our fathers,
so that they might rejoice in sure knowledge
of the oaths in which they trusted.
7 The deliverance of the righteous and the destruction
of their enemies
were expected by thy people.
8 For by the same means by which thou didst punish our enemies
thou didst call us to thyself and glorify us.
9 For in secret the holy children of good men offered sacrifices,
and with one accord agreed to the divine law,
that the saints would share alike the same things,
both blessings and dangers;
and already they were singing the praises of the fathers.

Revised Standard Version

The book of Wisdom found its use as a textbook for young Jewish boys living in a Greek culture from 300 B.C. to 200 A.D. Named after the wisest of all the Israelite kings, Solomon, the book contained wise sayings, philosophical and moral discussion, religious apologetics, science, and rhetoric. This general education text tried to prove Judaism was superior to Greek culture (the regional culture at the time), while Jews lived among Greeks. The author or authors meant to educate in a general sense, and build up faith in a foreign environment.

The final section of the book praises God as liberator of his people. One of the high points of the text glorified God for his power that destroyed the first born of the Egyptians, yet, at the same time, freed his people. Jews, as well as Christians and Muslims, still worship God for his revelation of power.

Sometimes the darkest moments of life turn to be the times of freedom. Painful moments lead to joy. Suffering leads to peace. Death-life is the paradox of living faith. While we experience these times in stress, we should always be thankful for God's presence and direction. With God we can see the greater picture, the greater good that comes from dark times.

When have you experienced dark times? What good came from these experiences? How has your faith grown in hindsight?