SUNDAY READINGS REFLECTIONS
28th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Cycle B) – October 14, 2018
This Sunday’s Theme: Heart Felt Wisdom and Duty.
Both Reading 1 and the Gospel contrast heavenly versus earthly riches and wisdom. Reading 2 speaks of how God’s Word pierces our hearts, enabling us to distinguish truth from falsehood.
“Do people weigh you down? Don’t carry them on your shoulders. Take them into your heart.” (Archbishop Dom Helder Camara)
Reading 1 – Wisdom 7:7-11 Wisdom is preferred above gold and silver.
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 90:12-17 The Lord fills us with love and joy.
Reading 2 – Hebrews 4:12-13 The Word of God exposes the heart.
Gospel – Mark 10:17-30 All that we have belongs to God, we are just its stewards.
Reading 1 Wisdom 7:7-11 (The Preference of Wisdom)
Context – The Wisdom of Solomon (aka. Wisdom) is one of seven Wisdom Books of the Bible (including: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs (Song of Solomon), Ecclesiastes, and Sirach). It was written a century or two before Christ. Its main lesson is God rewarding those who are faithful to His law. “Wisdom” here means not merely the practical ability to succeed well in life, or even the art of behaving ethically, but spiritual vision, understanding of God and His activity in our lives and history. To strengthen the faith of his co-religionists, to console them in their afflictions, to raise their hearts above the sordidness and immorality by which they were surrounded – this was the main purpose of the writer of the Book of Wisdom. But he also had another purpose in view. Many Jews, anxious to gain the good will of the Egyptians, had faltered in their allegiance to Yahweh and gone over to the camp of the enemy. To these unfortunates the sacred writer addresses himself time and again, warning them of the impending judgment of God and conjuring them to return to the path of true Wisdom which alone leads to perfect happiness. The Christian finds in it the highest religious and moral lessons – lessons which are of paramount importance today, just as they were two thousand years ago.
Today’s Reading – The author, assumed to be Solomon, is depicted as a king who prays for wisdom. Presumably, it is the kind of wisdom that will enable him to be a fair and wise ruler. He proclaims that he prefers Wisdom to all material riches, to health, to beauty, to everything that women and men normally cherish. In comparison to Wisdom, all other riches are of little value. By making Wisdom his first aim, all other earthly riches are also given to him.
I prayed, and prudence was given me [i]; I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.
I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her, nor did I liken any priceless gem to her; because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire. Beyond health and comeliness I loved her, and I chose to have her rather than the light, because the splendor of her never yields to sleep. Yet all good things together came to me in her company, and countless riches at her hands.
PAUSE and reflect on how the above speaks to you. Anyone who would assert that being rich and famous would provide genuine happiness, possesses not Wisdom but rather a morally defective attitude. Such an individual must not be trusted with anything of importance. Those, however, who find peace and contentment in the gifts provided by Wisdom, are the virtuous ones by whom we all profit by association. Wisdom brings peace; wealth tends to bring strife. Wisdom’s contentment fosters life and love, justice and dignity; wealth’s responsibilities easily overwhelm those with too little talent, and easily produce the idolatry of greed and power, too often raising blandness and mediocrity to illusory heights of respect. (The Franciscans St. Anthony’s Guild)