God formed man to be imperishable; the image of His own nature He made him.
Today’s First Reading from the Book of Wisdom explicitly proclaims a belief central to Judaeo-Christian thought. The first sentence of this passage instructs us that “God formed man to be imperishable; the image of His own nature He made him.”
Today’s First Reading is eleven verses long. The last nine make up a passage often proclaimed at funerals, meditating as it does on human suffering. But the first two verses offer a frame in which to situate those last nine.
The theme of suffering is a continual theme throughout the seven books of the Old Testament’s “Wisdom Literature”. Suffering is, for many, what makes or breaks them spiritually. Many turn away from God because of their experiences of suffering. Others profoundly deepen their living in God through their experiences of human suffering. None of the Bible’s “Wisdom Literature” gives an “answer” to human suffering. Wisdom is not found in answers. Wisdom is found in resting in the Image of God.