Life is often spent by so many seeking to gather, obtain and storing up wealth and riches. We too often measure ones worth by their possessions. How much money is in the bank, how large or new is their car, are they into the latest fashion. So often I see those with little to nothing spending, what little they have so they can have the appearance of being wealthy. On the other end some who are wealthy are so busy building wealth, that they fail to see the richness of those around them such as family, are see in the marginalized and those on the peripheries an opportunity for great good in helping others.
I believe the readings this week call us to make a radical choice for wisdom. We here the voice of the Great King Solomon as these words are proclaimed from the book of Wisdom.
“ I prayed, and prudence was given me;
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,”
A man who had wealth and power so great, when asked by God what he would like he asked for Wisdom. So great did God bless the king that the fame of his wisdom spread. Let’s look briefly at 1Kings chapter 10
1a The queen of Sheba,* having heard a report of Solomon’s fame, came to test him with subtle questions……She came to Solomon and spoke to him about everything that she had on her mind……When the queen of Sheba witnessed Solomon’s great wisdom,….. it took her breath away. “The report I heard in my country about your deeds and your wisdom is true,” she told the king.“I did not believe the report until I came and saw with my own eyes that not even the half had been told me. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report I heard.”
We are being called through God’s Word to make a radical shift and focus on seeking wisdom, allowing her to give direction and influence over our lives. The pursuit of wealth without the wisdom needed to use it for good and the care of others will leave one empty and without hope. Getting the right direction and proper use of wealth is needed. Seeking Wisdom in our decisions and how they can influence our world and the grace needed to see in each challenge an opportunity for great blessings for others. To be a part of a new joy and a new hope for lives and a society and church renewed and reformed.
Moving from greed to giving, from hoarding to helping, and from self-gain to selfless love. I think of Pope Francis’ reflection on a poor church for the poor. In his calling for a poor church I believe that each of us and all of us whether poor or rich, both the haves and the have-nots are called to turn to wisdom that we might care for one another in being good stewards of what has been given us. And when we receive generously from those whose hearts have turned toward Wisdom, that we don’t squander the blessing but rather seek wise decisions in our care for those on the peripheries.
My thoughts return to the wisdom expressed by 40 bishops on November 16,1965 when they wrote a Manifesto to be a church for the poor. I only became aware of its full meaning and implications after engaging in dialogue and witnessing bishops from South America who embraced the ”Pact” .
The signatories vowed to renounce personal possessions, fancy vestments and “names and titles that express prominence and power,” and they said they would make advocating for the poor and powerless the focus of their ministry.
In all this, they said, “we will seek collaborators in ministry so that we can be animators according to the Spirit rather than dominators according to the world; we will try to make ourselves as humanly present and welcoming as possible; and we will show ourselves to be open to all, no matter what their beliefs.”
This is where we are being called to today. Like the rich young man in the Gospel many Catholics have embraced a sense of fulfillment of obligation in doing the basics of living out their faith. Like him they are sincere in their search and desire to be good Christians, but more is required, more is demanded by Christ and the Gospel. In the Gospel of Mark the sincere young man who sought to deepen his understanding of the Law and to live it needs clarification. Although he was a ”good son of Israel” followed the Law, but Jesus took him deeper. He tells him to give what he has to the poor and follow him. Like the challenge to the young man Christ desires that we too identify those things that are an obstical to radical wisdom and faith. Namely that we are called to be truly responsible and must have a preferential option for the poor. Let us open ourselves to wisdom, to examine our faith to go beyond the basics to deep our journey and allow your faith to take you deeper into the suffering, pain and the poor to experience the great fulfillment in seeking to eradicate the peripheries to lift up the poor and use what we have for the good of our brothers and sisters who struggle. When we seek wisdom and respond radically to the needs of others it is that we truly live our faith and our lives are led by Wisdom.