Homily for October 14

Homily for the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Scriptures for today's Mass


I love Solomon’s prayer in today’s first scripture:
I  prayed and prudence was given me;
I pleaded and the spirit of wisdom came to me.
A way of getting at this verse from scripture might be
to come in through the back door.
Let’s you and I ask ourselves a few questions
- a few rhetorical questions -
so don’t raise your hand or shout out any answers - OK?

• First question.  Might help to close your eyes.
 “What’s the most imprudent thing I’ve ever done in my life?”
Good!  No hands up and no one shouting out an answer!
• A second question.
“What’s the most foolish thing I’ve ever done in my life?”         

Well, God knows I’ve done a lot of imprudent things in my life.
And God knows I’ve done a lot of foolish things in my life.
I’ve said some things that were imprudently foolish.
And I’ve done some things that were foolishly imprudent.
And I’ve said and done things
that were imprudently and foolishly sinful.
While it’s true that most of us
don’t lead generally foolish, imprudent lives,
it’s also true that most of us, from time to time,
say and do truly imprudent and foolish things.
In fact, one of the most foolish and imprudent things of all
would be to claim that I’m never really foolish or imprudent.

• So, how about a third question? 
What’s the most sinfully imprudent, foolish thing
I’ve ever said or done in my life?
Sinful?  Sinful.  What is sin?
Sin is nothing more and nothing less than damned foolishness.
Solomon knew this and that’s why he prayed for prudence and wisdom.
Prudence is born of wisdom:
she is good judgment, common sense,                   
mindful vigilance and foresight…
Prudence takes care, thinks ahead, reasons deliberately,
heeds the truth, exercises discretion…
Prudence tends to be wary - not impulsive,
open minded - not prejudiced,
determined - not hesitant…
Prudence leads to goodness, integrity, peace,
humility, surety and holiness…
Prudence always leads us back to the wisdom from which she is born.

On the other hand, foolishness breeds
carelessness, pride, waste, hurt, division and confusion -
and seduces us, leads us ever nearer to, and deeper into, sin.

I doubt that anyone here wouldn’t like to be at least
a little more prudent and wise,  and a little less foolish and sinful.
I know that’s what I want.
But left to our own devices, it seems we have a tendency
to choose the foolish path too often
and the path of wisdom not often enough.
Sadly, we might find ourselves lacking in models
for wiser, more prudent living.

• The entertainment world isn’t overflowing with good example
and the many screens that hold our attention
are often wanting in the wisdom department.

• Our political world is no store house of prudence
and often seems damned foolish.

• And we know too keenly that even the Church has failed
in faithfully modeling for us the wisdom that comes only from God,
and the prudence who holds in her arms the promise
of satisfying our hearts’ deepest and best desires.

So, what are we to do?  Where are we to go?
How are we to find this wisdom born of prudence?
How are we to leave our foolishness and our foolish sins behind
and grow in wisdom?

First, we need to grapple with the three questions I posed:
How have I been (how am I being even now) imprudent in my life?
What foolish choices have I made (am  I making even now) in my life?    
And how has my imprudence led me (how is it leading me today)
to the foolishness of sin?

Each of us needs to wrestle with our own imprudence
and with the foolishness of words and deeds that transgress
the law, the word and the love of God.
And, again, each of us needs to realize
that the greatest imprudence of all
is the belief that I’m not at all foolish   - that I have no sin.

If we grapple and wrestle with these hard truths,
then we’re ready to pray with Solomon:
I  pray for prudence, Lord, give it to me;
I plead for wisdom, let it come to me.
One thing we can be sure of is that prudence and wisdom
are gifts that God is always wanting and waiting to give us.
But God’s generosity here is not enough, not the whole story.
While God is always ready to offer these gifts,
if we’re to receive them we need to yearn and learn to
 prefer prudence and wisdom to scepter and crown
and to
 “count wisdom and prudence more valuable than gold or silver,
to choose them over health and beauty.”

What do we choose, you and I?
What will we choose when God offers us prudence and wisdom?

Does anyone among us not want to grow in prudence and wisdom?
And what are we willing to give away to possess them?

Perhaps my three questions today might have stirred up in you
some unpleasant, some imprudent, some foolish,
even some sinful memories from the past
-or realizations about the present.
I know that writing this homily did that for me.
We imprudent, foolish, sinful folks need, then, to look and to go
to the source of all wisdom, the Spirit of God,
and to pray that prudence be given us and wisdom come to us.

The mystery of wisdom is found in Jesus.
St. Paul tells us that the message of the Cross is the wisdom of God.
Look at the Cross hovering over our prayer. Look at Jesus.
On the Cross we see the mystery of God’s wisdom, not ours.
On the Cross, Jesus carried on his innocent shoulders,
in his vulnerable body, in his pure heart
he carried all the sin, all the damned foolishness, of humankind,
including yours and mine.
In his suffering:
we are forgiven, redeemed and restored to peace with God.
Whatever my three questions stirred in our souls,
whatever imprudence, foolishness or sin,
no matter how great or how small,
the mystery of God’s wisdom waits for us on the Cross,
ready to pardon, forgive and redeem us.

In the shadow of Jesus’ Cross we are gathered at his Table.
Scripture tells us:
Wisdom has built herself a house and has set her table.
She calls from the heights of the city:
Let all who are foolish come to my house!
To those who have no sense she says,
 “Come, eat my food and drink my wine.
Leave behind your foolish ways and you will live;
come walk in the way of insight.”

Let’s go, then, to the Lord’s Table - and feast!
Feast on the prudence and wisdom he gives us,
in the mystery of the food of the Eucharist
in his Body and Blood,
given once for us, first for us in the mystery of the Cross
and shared with us now at this Wisdom table.


Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please THINK before you write
and PRAY before you think!