Wednesday, September 19, 2018

“Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.”

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. – Confucius: (551–479 BC: was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher)

Gospel Text: (LK 7:31-35)
Jesus said to the crowds:
“To what shall I compare the people of this generation?
What are they like?
They are like children who sit in the marketplace and call to one another,

‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance.
We sang a dirge, but you did not weep.’

For John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine,
and you said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said,
‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard,
a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’
But wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”

Knowledge today, as it’s commonly considered, is thought to be facts and figures. Computers can put human persons to shame when it comes to sorting, categorizing and presenting information. While we might dispute whether facts and figures are the essence of knowledge or merely some of its components, we often educate our children according to knowledge-based systems.

What would it mean instead to educate children, and to re-form adults, according to a pattern of wisdom instead? Jesus in today’s Gospel passage hints that “wisdom is vindicated by all her children”. These curious words suggest that wisdom “educates” not according to a knowledge-based system, but according to a person-based system. Jesus teaches us that wisdom bears children; it doesn’t spit out data. Wisdom can only be understood according to a personalistic view of human life, the Gospel, and the eternal life to which Jesus wants to lead us. It’s wise for us to follow Him.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

“You were born to be an original. Don’t die a copy.”

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.  - Dr. Seuss: (1904 –1991: was an American children's author, political cartoonist, & poet)

Scripture Text: (1 COR 12:12-14, 27-31A)
Brothers and sisters:
As a body is one though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,
so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body,
whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

Now the body is not a single part, but many.

Now you are Christ's Body, and individually parts of it.
Some people God has designated in the Church
to be, first, Apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers;
then, mighty deeds;
then gifts of healing, assistance, administration,
and varieties of tongues.
Are all Apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers?
Do all work mighty deeds? Do all have gifts of healing?
Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?
Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.

When you were baptized, you became a member of Christ’s Body. Your Original Sin was washed away, and the virtues of faith, hope and love were put into you, and through those virtues, you were made strong enough to be part of the Body of Christ. You don’t have to be strong enough to be the entire Body of Christ, but God has called you to be just one part of His Body.

It’s God who does the calling, so you have to listen to His voice in your prayer, and ask what part He wants you to play within the Church.

When He answers, you’ll realize that God has called you to something very important. That’s why you’ll continue to need those divine virtues of faith, hope and love that you first received on the day of your baptism. These are the virtues that Saint Paul goes on tomorrow at Mass to preach about. These are the virtues that make us strong enough to follow Christ, to be like Him, to be one part of His Body, the Church.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Most of us wait until we're in trouble, and then we pray like the dickens. Wonder what would happen if, some morning, we'd wake up and say, "Anything I can do for You today, Lord?"

'We set forth our petitions before God, not in order to make known to Him our needs and desires, but rather so that we ourselves may realize that in these things it is necessary to turn to God for help.'  - St. Thomas Aquinas: (1225 –1274: was an Italian Dominican friar, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church)

Gospel Text: (LK 7:1-10)
When Jesus had finished all his words to the people,
he entered Capernaum.
A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die,
and he was valuable to him.
When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him,
asking him to come and save the life of his slave.
They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying,
"He deserves to have you do this for him,
for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us."
And Jesus went with them,
but when he was only a short distance from the house,
the centurion sent friends to tell him,
"Lord, do not trouble yourself,
for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.
Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you;
but say the word and let my servant be healed.
For I too am a person subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes;
and to another, 'Come here,' and he comes;
and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it."
When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him
and, turning, said to the crowd following him,
"I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith."
When the messengers returned to the house,
they found the slave in good health.

Consider just one point of context. While we might focus on the humility of the centurion, reflect by contrast on the power of the Lord. The Lord’s power is such that physical proximity to the sick person is not necessary. The Lord needs only to “say the word”. This power evokes awe in the communicant because while in today’s Gospel passage Jesus did choose to heal from a distance, at Holy Mass Jesus deigns to enter into our very person, both body and soul. This intimate indwelling is a mystery for which we cannot possibly finish giving thanks.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

“For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice - no paper currency, no promises to pay, but the gold of real service.”

An ethic is not an ethic, and a value not a value without some sacrifice for it. Something given up, something not gained. - St. Jerome: (347 – 420: was a priest, confessor, theologian, and historian.)

Gospel Text: (MK 8:27-35)
Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples,
"Who do people say that I am?"
They said in reply,
"John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets."
And he asked them,
"But who do you say that I am?"
Peter said to him in reply,
"You are the Christ."
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
"Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the gospel will save it."

What Jesus teaches in today’s Gospel ought to be spoken out loud by every Christian, every day of his or her life, upon waking and upon retiring: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.”

Three times here, Jesus uses the word “whoever”. He’s not talking about an elite group like cloistered monks, or nuns on a par with Saint Teresa of Calcutta. “Whoever” includes you, if you wish to follow Jesus. “Whoever” includes you, if you wish to save your life. If you wish to live as a Christian, to die as a Christian, to be a Christian, then Jesus is speaking these words to you: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.”