26 January [Sts Timothy and Titus, apostles]
Mk 4:21-25

Jesus said, ‘Is a lamp brought in to be put under the bushel basket, or under the bed, and not on the lampstand? For there is nothing hidden, except to be disclosed; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’ And he said to them, ‘Pay attention to what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. For to those who have, more will be given; and from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.’

Every language has its own homespun wisdom, and this is often best seen in its proverbs.  Translated from Irish, for example: “A friend’s eye is a good mirror.” “Don’t break your shin on a stool that isn't in your way.”  “A wild goose never laid a tame egg.”  “Winter comes fast on the lazy.” “The herb that can't be got is the one that brings relief.”  “The person who brings a story to you will take two away.”  “The man who was dividing Ireland didn’t leave himself last.”  “No man ever wore a cravat as nice as his own child’s arm around his neck.”  “The one who is bad at giving a lodging is good at showing the road.”  “A person often ties a knot with his tongue that can’t be loosened with his teeth.”  “When you go forth to find a wife, leave your eyes at home and take your two ears with you.”  “It’s no delay to stop and edge the tool.”  “Time and patience will bring the snail to Jerusalem.”  And one I like especially because it is so cryptic, and the two halves sound almost the same: “Ní h-uasal ná h-iseal ach thuas seal agus thíos seal” (It’s not a matter of being superior or inferior, but of being up for a while and down for a while.)  And so on and on endlessly! 

Jesus quoted two proverbs from his own language in this passage, “No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub,” and “The measure you give is the measure you get.”  Don’t ask me to add a commentary to them: proverbs are well able to speak for themselves.




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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 


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