December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 Keeping watch over riches wastes the flesh, and the care of wealth drives away rest.
- 2 Concern for one's livelihood banishes slumber; more than a serious illness it disturbs repose.
- The rich man labors to pile up wealth, and his only rest is wanton pleasure;
- The poor man toils for a meager subsistence, and if ever he rests, he finds himself in want.
- The lover of gold will not be free from sin, for he who pursues wealth is led astray by it.
- Many have been ensnared by gold, though destruction lay before their eyes;
- It is a stumbling block to those who are avid for it, a snare for every fool.
- 3 Happy the rich man found without fault, who turns not aside after gain!
- Who is he, that we may praise him? he, of all his kindred, has done wonders,
- For he has been tested by gold and come off safe, and this remains his glory; He could have sinned but did not, could have done evil but would not,
- So that his possessions are secure, and the assembly recounts his praises.
- 4 If you are dining with a great man, bring not a greedy gullet to his table, Nor cry out, "How much food there is here!"
- Remember that gluttony is evil. No creature is greedier than the eye: therefore it weeps for any cause.
- Recognize that your neighbor feels as you do, and keep in mind your own dislikes:
- Toward what he eyes, do not put out a hand; nor reach when he does for the same dish.
- Behave at table like a favored guest, and be not greedy, lest you be despised.
- Be the first to stop, as befits good manners; gorge not yourself, lest you give offense.
- If there are many with you at table, be not the first to reach out your hand.
- Does not a little suffice for a well-bred man? When he lies down, it is without discomfort.
- Distress and anguish and loss of sleep, and restless tossing for the glutton! Moderate eating ensures sound slumber and a clear mind next day on rising.
- 5 If perforce you have eaten too much, once you have emptied your stomach, you will have relief.
- Listen to me, my son, and scorn me not; later you will find my advice good. In whatever you do, be moderate, and no sickness will befall you.
- On a man generous with food, blessings are invoked, and this testimony to his goodness is lasting;
- He who is miserly with food is denounced in public, and this testimony to his stinginess is lasting.
- Let not wine-drinking be the proof of your strength, for wine has been the ruin of many.
- As the furnace probes the work of the smith, so does wine the hearts of the insolent.
- Wine is very life to man if taken in moderation. Does he really live who lacks the wine which was created for his joy?
- Joy of heart, good cheer and merriment are wine drunk freely at the proper time.
- Headache, bitterness and disgrace is wine drunk amid anger and strife.
- More and more wine is a snare for the fool; it lessens his strength and multiplies his wounds.
- Rebuke not your neighbor when wine is served, nor put him to shame while he is merry; Use no harsh words with him and distress him not in the presence of others.
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1 [1-11] Solicitude for acquiring wealth and anxiety over preserving it disturb repose and easily lead to sin and ruin (Sirach 31:1-7). Cf Matthew 6:25-34. A rich man who has not sinned or been seduced by wealth is worthy of praise (Sirach 31:8-11).
2  The Hebrew adds a verse that seems out of place here: "A faithful comrade drives away reproach, and the friend who keeps secrets is as dear as life."
3 [8-10] The Church in her liturgy applies this passage to holy confessors of the Faith.
4 [31:12-32:13] A man observing etiquette at table avoids greed and selfishness (Sirach 31:12-13), is considerate of a neighbor's likes and dislikes and is generous toward him (Sirach 31:14, 15, 23, 24), observes proper manners (Sirach 31:16-18), is moderate in eating and drinking (Sirach 31:19-22, 25-30). A good host makes himself one with his guests, is solicitous for them (Sirach 32:1, 2), provides conversation and diversion (Sirach 32:3-6), is modest in speech (Sirach 32:7, 8, 10), is respectful of elders (Sirach 32:9), polite in comportment and grateful to God for his favors (Sirach 32:11-13).
5  Emptied your stomach: the practice of induced vomiting, well-known among pagan Romans, and less well-known among the Jews, seems to be referred to here.
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