Homily for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B
Theme: THE GREATNESS OF WISDOM
By: Rev Fr Utazi Prince Marie Benignus
Homily for Sunday October 10 2021
I pray for you: May the Lord Jesus continue to impart to you the Wisdom you need to accept who you are in Gods eyes and who God is. AMEN
If we focus on God and seek the Wisdom of God, we will see things in new light and be open to the gifts which the Lord Jesus will bestow upon us. The link between “Wisdom” and our life with God takes center stage in today’s readings.
The First Reading reflects the prayer of Solomon who chooses Wisdom over all other gifts, and in choosing Wisdom receives everything else besides. Even though scholars date the final version of the Book of Wisdom taking form within the couple of hundred years before Jesus, they reflect the sentiments of King Solomon, the ruler who requested wisdom, as his only gift from God. Todays passage describes the value of having Wisdom. Anyone, not just Solomon, who seeks to be wise and aspires to possess Wisdom realizes that Wisdom is more valuable than riches, power, health, and beauty. Wisdom is personified as a woman in whose company all good things come. In the Hebrew Scriptures, Wisdom is pictured as co-existing with God from the time of creation and participating with God in the very act of creation. It is easy to see how Christians have associated Wisdom with Jesus.
The Responsorial Psalm today is a request that God be the source of Wisdom, understanding, and teaching for all of Gods servants. As God bestows these gifts on the people who invoke Gods name, they are given kindness, joy, and prosperity.
The Responsorial Psalm is prayer to God for the gift of loving Wisdom.
In the second reading, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews uses the term Word of God (in Hebrew Debar YHWH), and describes the Word of God a term associated both with Wisdom and with Jesus Himself as the very active and powerful instrument which can cut to the quick. This term was linked with Wisdom throughout Jewish scripture. Both Wisdom and Debar YHWH (Word of God) were considered much more than intellectual knowledge. Yes, the mental aspect of both Wisdom and Debar YHWH is evident. Nonetheless, in keeping with the concept of the wholeness of the person, the mind was integrally linked with the soul and the body. Thus Wisdom and the Debar YHWH address the fullness of a person. If one is in touch with Wisdom and the Debar YHWH, then one will not only have the right thoughts, but also acts in the appropriate way, and emotes with sense of Gods presence. It is with this understanding and with the link between that both Wisdom and Debar YHWH have with Jesus, that we can better understand this passage. Jesus, who is the true and divine Wisdom and the Word of God made flesh, is much more than the words He speaks. Yes, He came to proclaim the Good News with words, but He did it with much more than just His teaching. He actively lived the words of Good News. He became the living and effective Word of God which penetrates into a very being of an individual, revealing who a person is in the eyes of God that is, that the person is both sinful by his/her own actions and his/her own choice; and at the same time loved by Gods choice.
The Gospel today presents the account of a wealthy man who has honestly striven to keep the commands and wants to be declared righteous in Gods eyes. He asks the Good teacher Jesus to affirm him in his living out the law. Jesus responds by presenting the commandments which deal with how a person relates to other individuals. The man assures Jesus that he has kept the Law since childhood. He asks Jesus if there is anything else he must do. Jesus lovingly responds that there is still one thing lacking in the mans life totally giving of himself (thus all his possessions) in the service of God and others. The man goes away sad because he thought that his wealth was a sign of his being blessed by God and could not come to grips with having to give up the very sign, he believes, of his being gifted by God. Jesus goes on to comment that possessions can be a true obstacle to sharing in the eternal life with God. Wealth can be the trappings which can mean both the visible signs of a persons role and that which traps us in a difficult position which prevent a person from being honest with who he/she is in Gods eyes.
Dear Sisters and Brothers, true wealth and Wisdom are presented in the scripture passages for today. There is so much in these passages today. If we are to fully grasp them, it would lead us to having the Wisdom of God. Therefore, we should seek to have the Wisdom of God. It is a pity that many people, however, would rather fight for, and have earthly possessions, intellectual mastery, or power rather than having Wisdom. Wisdom requires that one acts with ones eyes focused on God and on others, rather than on ones self. But as children of God, Wisdom is much more than knowledge or intellectual sharpness. Being wise affects every aspects of ones life. It is the ability to see with the eyes of God. It, like the letter to the Hebrews describes the Debar YHWH, cuts to the quick. Here, quick can mean the very intrinsic being of a person. When something cuts to the quick it gets down to the essence of who a person is. It can also mean to hurt someones feelings. Like the sword mentioned in the Second Reading today, cutting to the quick exposes a person to the eyes of God. One sees who he/she is in Gods eyes, and who other people are in Gods eyes. Then, one of the results will be that we cannot hide behind all our pretenses. We are trapped in being exposed before God. We realize that we are sinful creatures who are in the need of Gods help. This self-revelation should change how we act and how we treat others. We are in no way superior to others for we are all equal in Gods eyes. With Wisdom, we can also see how much we are loved by God and how much God also loves others. This should motivate us to love and care for others so that they experience who they are in Gods eyes that they are also sinful, but more importantly, that they are loved by God.
Again, having Wisdom should affect our whole attitude and lifestyle. Living as wise individuals, we will not cling to our possessions or position in life, but rather see that what we have been given are not our possessions and our doings, but gifts from a loving God who wants us to share those gifts and the effects of those gifts with others. Wisdom should motivate us to be both more reflective and more pro-active. Spending time with the Debar YHWH (Word of God) reading scripture, praying, reflecting will become essential to our life-style. This, in turn, will empower us to be reach out to others with more compassion and love. This balance of reflection and action was the key to how Saint (Mother) Teresa lived. She was blessed with the Wisdom of God.
*MEDITATION* When I think of Wisdom, what comes to mind? Do I seek to have Wisdom or do I strive to have wealth, fame, power, or beauty more? Am I willing to have the Word of God (Debar YHWH) cut me to the quick and expose me and my sinfulness before the eyes of God?
*PRAYER* Lord God, we beg you that you continue to send us Your Holy Spirit Who fills us with Your Wisdom, so that we may live our lives in a way which acknowledges who we are in Your sight, and Who You are in our eyes. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
*O DIVINE WORD, WHO TOOK FLESH FOR HUMAN SAKE, REDEEM US IN OUR SITUATION*
© Rev Fr Utazi Prince Marie Benignus
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