The 28th Sunday of the Year
Wis 7:7-11; Heb 4:12-13; Mk 10:17-30 (Year B)
“I prayed, and understanding was given me; I entreated, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me. In her company all good things came to me, at her hands riches not to be numbered.”
The young King Solomon’s prayer for wisdom, coming in the early chapters of the Book of Wisdom, can be understood as a moving entreaty to reflect on the priorities that rule our lives. Here wisdom is understood as the divine purpose revealed in the beauty and harmony of Creation. More than this, this benign purpose is deeply personal, revealed to God’s people in the unfolding history of their salvation. Thus Solomon went on to pray: “As for God’s intention, who could have learnt it, had you not granted Wisdom and sent your holy spirit from above? Thus have the paths of those on earth been straightened and men been taught what pleases you, and saved by Wisdom.”
Thus true wisdom is the God-given discernment of a life lived in harmony with the beauty of creation and the Creator’s loving purpose for those he has called to himself. St Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, unhesitatingly identified this wisdom with the Gospel, a crucified Lord in whom is revealed the power and wisdom of God. Such wisdom is neither abstract nor speculative. It is the practical wisdom with which faith embraces Christ as the way, the truth and the life.
The Gospel narrative illustrates the conflicting wisdoms at work in sinful humanity. The young man, presenting himself to Jesus, represented all that is best in our longing for meaning and life. “Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
The consequent dialogue revealed all that had been achieved in this young man’s search for communion with his Lord. With total sincerity he listed his fidelity to the commandments. Jesus responded with an invitation that laid bare the ruling wisdom in his life: “There is one thing you lack. Go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me. But his face fell at these words and he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.”
We may or may not be men and women of great wealth, but it is in the very nature of sinful humanity to be ruled by its attachments. These attachments are complex, but are frequently swayed by unacknowledged pride, envy and rash judgment. Whatever our challenge, we are not alone. The Lord who calls us to his wisdom enables our response. “For men it is impossible, but not for God: because everything is possible for God.”