|JESUS CHRIST, MASTER, TEACHER AND LORD|
“I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me…yet all the good things came to me in her company, and countless riches in her hands”.
The words of the First Reading, taken from the book of Wisdom, brings to mind the episode in the book of Kings, when Solomon succeeded his father David, and had asked the Lord not for possessions, wealth and honor, but rather for the wisdom and knowledge in order to rule (cf. 2 Chr 1:11). Solomon’s petition is granted, and all of the rest that he had not asked for himself was granted besides. Wisdom is a deep understanding of the true nature of things. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit, who probes the depths of God and penetrates all things. Normally we could say that a person is wise, that he possesses wisdom, but scriptural tradition also mentions that she possesses the wise man. Whatever the case, wisdom, which comes as a perfect gift from on high, is something that allows us to see the true worth of things, and thus allows us to order our life’s search for the things that really matter. It distinguishes that which is vain and useless in this life, and allows us to head for that which could really make us happy. The Responsorial Psalm is a prayer in which we ask that we may be taught by God “to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart”. Wisdom does not merely mean intellectual brilliance. The sapientia cordis (wisdom of heart) which the psalmist asks is that which precisely allows man to head for that which really matters, one that makes man truly happy: union with God.
This wisdom of heart makes us more attentive to hear God’s word. In the Scriptures, this is precisely one characteristic of the wise: they delight in the law of the Lord, and meditate on his law day and night (cf. Ps 1:2). We encounter the Lord in our reading and reflection of his word in the Sacred Scriptures. This encounter is done in our private reading, and also in the public celebration of the liturgy of the Church, where God’s Word is proclaimed in the assembly. The Year of Faith, which we have just joyfully begun, should push us to resolve to read the Word of God more often, even daily, and listen to it, because it is not something that comes to us from the past, but something that is living and effective, as the Second Reading, taken from the letter to the Hebrew, tells us. It is a Word that challenges us whenever we come into contact with it, transforming us, affecting our way of life in our present circumstance. It is a powerful Word that cuts through our mediocrity and tepidity, pruning and probing the very depths of our life, so that we may become truly wise in our struggle to live according to the truth of God and live as sons and daughters of the light. It makes us wise and holy. May this Year of Faith allow us to be more familiar with God’s Word in the scriptures that we read and hear proclaimed in our assemblies.
The wisdom that is found in the reception and meditation of God’s Word leads us to God, who alone is good, as we hear Jesus declare in the Gospel of today (cf. Mk 10:17-30). In Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word of God, we have a teacher who can teach us what true wisdom is, and the real happiness to which it leads. Jesus is the perfect teacher because He himself is the Truth, the Wisdom of the ages. True wisdom allows us to realize that it is important to follow the commandments of God; it impresses upon us the need to live a life that is morally coherent, one that is lived according to the Law of God. The Scriptures are clear in saying that true foolishness is found in the rejection of the Law: the fool is he who does not live according to the commandments of God.
But then, as we would see in the Gospel, living according to the commandments is not enough for one to be truly wise. Jesus says to the young man—who speaks for each one of us in our search for that which could truly give meaning into our lives—that for one to have treasure in heaven, one must go, sell everything one has to the poor, and then come and follow him. The Gospel records that at these words, the young man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. He had the audacity to search for that which would truly make him happy, but lacked the courage do what it took to attain it.
Wisdom of heart and true holiness springs also in following Jesus, imitating him as his true disciples, and living his life in us. This allows us to view the commandments and the demands of the moral law not as mere external impositions, but as something that sets us free as daughters and sons of God. This wisdom of heart that comes also as a fruit of our daily encounter with Christ in the Scriptures that we read and in the sacraments that we celebrate, drives us to live to the full the commandment of love that Christ has enjoined us to live. It does not leave us indifferent to the plight of our neighbors, of our brothers and sisters, but pushes us to do good works, both of prayer and service in the community.
The Year of Faith gives us a wonderful opportunity to live in our life these things that we have pondered upon in our reflection of the Sunday readings: a deeper familiarity with the Word of God in the Scriptures, a renewed decision to live a life in intimate union with Christ in prayer and the sacraments, and the renewed dedication to live the witness of a life lived according to the commandments, and lived in the service of charity in the community. May our daily communion with Jesus, Master, Lord and Savior, provide us with the strength to rise from our mediocrity and tepidity in order to proclaim Him in whom we have placed our trust in this Year of the Faith. AMEN!