Reflection for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle B)
Our God is not only the silent and compassionate Spirit buttressing our lives, but the abyssal voice that speaks out from the depths of our inner spirits, a voice that unmasks the darkness and deconstructs all our contrived falsehoods, the “two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.”
God is both a helping presence, but also a disturbing presence, for “no creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.” The Spirit is both the truth and the light. He embodies all that is real or all that will ever be real, and the force behind its own self-revelation. So, God is Compassion, and God is Wisdom – he is wise because he is compassionate.
In his selfless compassion, he is omniscience and omnipresence. In his divine will to sustain a cosmic order, he knows all and fully desires to know all. In his divine will to preserve the harmony of creation, he is everywhere and fully desires to be everywhere. Hence, we are mistaken to think or see him as a distant and detached god, an absent and indifferent deity, impatient for satiety; he in fact, sees and hears all for our sake, patiently listening for and pondering over the realization of a tranquil universe.
God is the Wisdom that will fulfill his kingdom, because God cares.
God wishes that we may have his wisdom, too. He wishes we will be able to understand him fully through this grace which he himself will bless us with. He also wishes that through this wisdom, we will be enlightened not only with divine reality, but also with our worldly realities, most especially our true human condition. Ultimately, God wills that we employ this same wisdom to act upon the deformities of our human condition, and to redirect it towards his reign of justice and peace. “Come, follow me.”
So, let us not be caught unaware, unprepared or unwilling to lovingly accept this wisdom, because only through our humble response to this calling, will the wounds of our condition indeed have hope in complete healing. Let us therefore beware that the enemies to this humble response are not the spirits of evil, but our conscious succumbing to the allurements it offers: possessions, prestige and power. It is only human to feel the pain in foregoing such fleeting pleasures for a life of poverty, anonymity and ordinariness if one is capable of achieving worldly success, but it is supernatural grace that impels us to obediently accept instead the sacred life because we are able to see that beyond our act of oblation, God always cares.
When we do respond however, as may be gleaned from the primordial tale of the origins of our concupiscence in the garden of innocence, wisdom cannot be offered to the self-seeking ha’adam; wisdom will be enabled only for the wrong reasons, unfairly wielded in pride, begetting injustices and oppression. Foolishness therefore not only consists of ignoring the value of the gift of wisdom, but also in corrupting the sincerity of acts of compassion. Do we display a charity of donating possessions only for the purpose of gaining prestige and power? Do we use wisdom instead in stifling God’s kingdom?
The possession of wisdom presupposes that we bear in our sinful natures, even just a little of God’s selflessness and compassion. It is only for those who are willing to be called to task, to do a duty they themselves cannot choose, to perform only what the bridegroom expects of them. Wisdom also requires of us the human sensitivity of being responsible for one another. Only then can wisdom flourish in authentic love. Selfless compassion thus supports the grace of wisdom; wisdom strengthens the grace of selfless compassion.
Are we prepared to serve the kingdom at a time only the Christ knows? If yes, we are assured of entering paradise with him. If no, we will be left out in the cold, undeserving of his recognition.
Brother Jess Matias is a professed brother of the Secular Franciscan Order. He serves as minister of the St. Pio of Pietrelcina Fraternity at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Mandaluyong City, coordinator of the Padre Pio Prayer Groups of the Capuchins in the Philippines and prison counselor and catechist for the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
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