for Sunday, September 5, 2010
So what is wisdom? Our first reading today comes from the Book of Wisdom
which teaches us how to live wisely. Today's teaching is that none of us
can really know the mind or the plans of God. This is true at a very
practical level but not so true at a general level. Jesus Christ has
revealed to us once and for all that God loves us and is committed to us
and wants our salvation.
Wisdom for our Jewish ancestors in the faith was knowledge of how to live
well in any situation. Wisdom is much more practical knowledge than
theoretical knowledge. You and I must know the practical realities of
living well and not just be able to think of them. Only God can give us
practical advice about how to live in this world with His blessings in such
a way that we shall come joyfully into the world after this one.
The second reading shows us some practical wisdom on the part of Saint
Paul. A runaway slave has come to him and now Saint Paul is sending him
back to his owner, who is a Christian, asking the owner to reflect on the
reality of slavery. Saint Paul does ask for freedom, but simply to treat
the slave as if he were Saint Paul himself, which would be to treat him as
a Roman citizen!
In the Gospel we hear Jesus talking about the practical wisdom that each
of us needs to follow him. Are we willing to give up everything? Can we
make Jesus and the Kingdom the center of our lives? This is just another
expression of the wisdom that we find throughout the Gospels. Where our
heart is, there is our treasure. Sometimes we humans prefer pleasure to
following the Lord. Sometimes we prefer money. Sometimes we prefer power.
These are the great temptations. Family can fit into all three of these
categories but can also fall outside of them.
Jesus invites us to look carefully at our personal lives today. Where is
my heart? Where is my treasure? What are the values and the realities
that really guide and direct my life, not just those that I talk about?
Sometimes we choose to follow the Lord even knowing that He is not yet our
only goal, but hoping that we can win the battle. This is the same kind of
image that Jesus puts in front of us today: if we have to fight, what are
our resources? The only resource that can win the battle is complete trust
in God, in Jesus our Lord and in the Holy Spirit.
As happens so often in our lives, we are invited to look at life as a
choice between good and evil; a choice between following the Lord or
following other values; a choice to live or to die.
What will I choose today? I hope to choose the Lord, goodness and life!
Even if I fail over and over, I can continue to choose Jesus, life and
goodness - and most of all I can trust that the Lord will help me. Let us
pray for one another.
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: