Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
Wisdom starts and ends with God. Certainly, wisdom comes with experience. It is not only experience about just anything or experience about doing anything, but an experience of God in silence, for in silence and reflection God is working in us, and an experience of God in a celebration of service, for in service He is at work for the salvation of all. We allow the God of our life and of work to re-create us as He wills.
If we are really serious in remaining in the presence of God, His Word becomes like fire burning in our hearts. Jeremiah speaks about this experience as we heard in the first reading when he said,
I say to myself, I will not mention him, I will speak in his name no more. But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it (Jer 20:7-9).
St. Luke mentions this kind of experience when the 2 disciples on the Road to Emmaus proclaimed,
“Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread (Lk 24: 32-35).
St. Paul urges us to be transformed so that we can discern the Will of God for us (2nd reading). Transformation is renewal of mind and heart. As the word (transformation) suggests, it is going over the form that we have, the flesh that we have, the mind and heart that we have. It is also going over the form that we want to see or what we want to be. It is putting on ourselves the body of Jesus: the Church. It is putting on the flesh of Jesus: the Eucharist. It is putting on the mind and heart of Jesus: his teachings and His commands.
Renewal is making anew the holiness and the innocence that we received before we have sinned, before the sin of our first parents. Renewal starts with forgiveness of the faults of others, which is humility on our part, and forgiveness of our selves, which is acceptance of God’s forgiveness that leads to a renewed strength to live His Life and be one with Him again.
We know that Jesus can do this, because He promised it. He can lead us back to the Father, because He is the Way. And the best way to know and follow Him is not only to be aware of His life, but also to lead a life of honesty, service and accountability for our actions.
Salvation is loss of our selfish motives and gain of Christ’s life. The fathers of the desert, the monks of Egypt in olden times, would say that if you want to be saved, keep your mouth shut, do not say anything against your brother and control what you eat.
To keep the mouth shut is to be able to spend time in prayer so that God can speak and we can listen. Then God can work in us. Not to say anything against a brother is to be open to Him as God’s instrument of loving and peaceful relationship. Then God, not us, becomes the reference and center of relationships. To control what we eat is to be in solidarity with the poor and suffering, and to deter self-contentment that leads to laziness and disregard for the plight of the needy.
Remember, then, that to be close to God, we have to understand the following:
a) Human wisdom comes from God. Apart from God it can lead to selfishness and abuse.
b) Any transformation leads to knowing God’s will. Apart from knowing God’s will, it is pride and worldliness.
c) Salvation is God’s work. God is the standard of life. To make oneself the standard of life is to make a god out of himself.
When we pray, when we celebrate the Eucharist, when we open ourselves to the poor and needy, God is working in us and among us so that He can be close to His people whom He created and redeemed from the hands of the evil one. With Mother Mary let us celebrate the Wisdom of our life.