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Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Homily: Twenty Eight (28th) Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B (October 11 2015)

Theme: Gaining Wisdom and Eternal Life

In a particular African village, the crown prince wanted to take a wife. Among the girls in the village, two girls distinguished themselves in character and were seriously attracted to the royal family. The prince had to choose a wife from among them. One day, he invited both girls to the royal garden and asked them to pick whatever they liked. The first girl gathered a basketful of apple while the second only picked an apple seed. When the prince demanded an explanation for their choice the first girl said: “Apple is a sign of love and the basketful signifies the great love I have for you”. The second girl replied: “I chose an apple seed instead of the fruit because with it, I will have as many fruits as I desire”. It is a sign of love that will keep growing and cannot be exhausted.  At last, the Prince married the second girl because of her wisdom.

Wisdom is the ability to make use of one’s knowledge and experience to make good decisions and judgment. Over and above all, it is not the possession of knowledge but the application of knowledge. As it is commonly said, intelligence makes us speak but wisdom makes us listen. It makes us listen to the voice of Jesus inviting us to follow him each time we come closer to him. It is an important virtue for holiness of life because without wisdom, we cannot please God. This is because wisdom knows what is pleasing in the sight of God (cf. Wisdom 9:9).  

Aware of the necessity of wisdom in his life, Solomon in the first reading (Wisdom 7:7-11), speaks of the glory of wisdom. He preferred wisdom to every other thing and that was why he prayed for it. God heard his prayer and blessed him with an unimaginable wisdom which he used to govern his people to the admiration of all. Yet, being the custodian of wisdom, he never lacked those things he abandoned. Through the exercise of his wisdom, he gathered them in multiple folds. In other words, Solomon preferred wisdom to wealth.

On the contrary, the man in the gospel reading (Mark 10:13-30) preferred wealth to wisdom. He was fortunate to encounter Christ who is the Wisdom of God but instead of following him, he decided to follow his wealth. The rich man lived a virtuous life and for that reason, Jesus looked at him and loved him. Though he was rich in wealth, he was absolutely poor in wisdom. This necessitated Jesus’ terrifying response: “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God”.  

I think the Holy Writ provides the reason for this when it says: “in his riches, man lacks wisdom” (cf. Ps 49:12). Wisdom informs us of what is pleasing in the sight of God at each moment we are faced with challenges. This wisdom helps us to understand the value of what we have and are. Wisdom teaches us to consider all things as nothing (detachment), it also makes us use all things for the good of all (charity). This was the lesson the rich young man failed to understand because he lacked wisdom. For this reason, he was unable to follow Christ who is the source of the eternal life he desired.

Beloved friends, it is not enough to desire good. We must march our desires with corresponding actions. The man desired eternal life but could not work out eternal life. All we have are gifts from God and we ought not to love the gift more than the giver. Jesus never condemned wealth rather attachment to wealth. We become materialistic when we consider wealth to be the most important thing in life or engage in nefarious activities just to secure or maintain wealth. Therefore, is there any material thing keeping you from following Jesus? Are you more interested in your position, function, beauty, wealth, intelligence or achievement more than you are in the things of God? Do you lack the wisdom to realize that “all is vanity” (cf. Ecc. 1:2)? Then why not seek this wisdom from the Word of God which according to the second reading (Hebrews 4:12-13) is “alive and active and can judge secret emotions and thoughts”.  Through His Word, Jesus gives us a personal invitation to abandon all things and follow him who is the Wisdom of God, the Gate of Heaven and the Source of eternal life. Be disposed to follow him today. God loves you. Happy Sunday.                                    

NB: Find Fr. Munachi Ezeogu's Homily for 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B here

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