Ordinary Time Week 25: Thursday

“All rivers flow to the sea, yet never does the sea become full. To the place where they flow, the rivers continue to flow.” (Ecc 1:7)

Saint Gregory of Nyssa (part 2 of the background of Saint Gregory of Nyssa is found here) offers the following insight on this verse from today’s First Reading:

“The sea is a receptacle for water which tends to flow everywhere; water never ceases to flow while the sea never grows larger. What is the goal of the water’s course which always fills the unquenchable sea? What is this influx of water which never fills the ever-constant sea? Ecclesiastes speaks like this that he may explain the insubstantiality of our frenzied pursuits which result from elements constituting man’s existence. If the sun’s course consists in this, it too has no limit; neither is there any succession between day and night, and the earth is condemned to remain ever unmoved. The rivers also labor in vain, for they are consumed by the insatiable sea which receives this constant inflow to no avail. If this is true, what about man who is subject to such elements? Why are we astonished at the rise and fall of a generation which follows a natural course because a generation of men always succeeds the one before it and so forth? What does Ecclesiastes cry out to the church? That you, oh man, who contemplate the universe, should understand your own nature. The wonders you behold in heaven or on earth, the sun or sea, should help explain your human nature. Sunrise and sunset resemble our human nature because they both have in common the one course [circle] of life. When we come into existence, we later return to our natural place. Once our life sets, our light passes under the earth which then lays hold of it.” (Homilies on Ecclesiastes, 1)

O God,
Who founded all the commands of Your sacred Law
upon love of You and of our neighbor,
grant that, by keeping Your precepts,
we may merit to attain eternal life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen