Reflection for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle A)
In today’s epistle to the Corinthians, the Apostle speaks of a “wisdom to the mature in faith, although it is not a wisdom of this world or of its rulers.” It is a “mystery … which God destined from the beginning, to bring us to glory,” a paradoxical wisdom in which fullness is attained through a radical self-emptying, in which “receiving” is actually “giving,” in which a “death to the self” leads to “life.”
This is the wisdom of divine love, the wisdom of the heavenly Father embodied in the loving deeds of the Incarnated Christ, most especially for those who are being left behind. It is not a wisdom in the knowledge of all things nor in the pursuit of such knowledge, but in the responsibility for the sustainability of all creation. It is a wisdom “revealed to us, through his Spirit” firmly embodied in our loving deeds, in succession for those exemplified by our risen Lord, most especially for those who are being left behind in our space and time in history. It is a wisdom founded on a strong and faithful relationship with him, whose reign, and with whose grace, we must be determined to achieve.
It is the wisdom of a love in which hatred and slander are already morally equivalent, and not at a much lesser degree, to murder; of a love expressed in a worship which engenders only peace and all good.
It is the wisdom of a love in which impure thoughts and intentions are already morally equivalent, and not at a much lesser degree, to impure words and actions; of a love expressed in both an avoidance of the corruption as well as in a dedication of one’s self to service for others, and not to pleasure from others.
It is the wisdom of a love in which “the pursuit of happiness” is not simply every person’s right, but also every person’s responsibility; of a love expressed unconditionally through daily struggles with patience and humility, in the hope that everybody becomes a better human being.
It is the wisdom of a love persevering in being honest towards and worthy of trust by others; of a love expressed in sensible reasoning, straightforward speech and dependable actions.
It is the wisdom of a love aspiring not only to “do good and avoid evil”, but to “do good in the face of evil”; of a love expressed for both friend and foe, ally and stranger, oppressed and oppressor.
It is true though, that we have always been given the choice to obey or disobey at our own risk: “If you wish, you can keep the commandments and it is in your power to remain faithful. He has set fire and water before you; you stretch out your hand to whichever you prefer. Life and death are set before man: which ever a man prefers will be given him.” But the Spirit “knows all the works of man.” Choices such as “fire and water” or “life and death”, will always have either favorable or disastrous implications for us all, that “whoever breaks the least important of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be the least in the kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, whoever obeys them, and teaches others to do the same, will be great in the kingdom of heaven.”
So, it is only fitting – if only for the sake of a “life” which lasts forever; if only for the sake of an eternal justice, peace and integrity of creation we can all cherish together – that “he has commanded no one to be godless and has given no one permission to sin.” Therefore, the wisdom of his divine love is the only true wisdom we must all consummate together.
May we pray: Father, help me to realize that knowledge belongs to you. Though by your will, you have chosen to share with us what we need to manage our doubts, anxieties and fears against a world we can never fully comprehend or be fully secure for, teach us too to relish in the uncertainties of life, so that we can much more vividly see in our finiteness, your everlasting companionship and providence. Father, truly it is only in my emptiness that I will witness your fullness!
In your hands, knowledge is freely given; in our hands, it is well taken, but rarely shared. We used what we presumed we possess, to abuse whom we presumed are disposed to serve us. Teach us instead to use what we should understand to be coming from you alone, so that humbled and inferior like everyone else – especially those who remain unloved by society – we are all equally disposed to serve each other. Amen.
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.
The views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of LiCAS.news.