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Homily, 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The theme of wisdom dominates today’s liturgy


17th Sunday in Ordinary  Time, Year A
1 Kings 3:5, 7-12; Romans 8:28-30; Matthew 13:44-52

The theme of wisdom dominates today’s liturgy. However, the wisdom in question is not worldly wisdom -it is divine wisdom. Through the gift of wisdom God communicates to us the meaning of life and the grandeur of our destiny, which is to be with God.

The first reading from the Book of Kings underlines the importance of our fundamental choices. In naming the wants that dominate our thoughts, we usually reveal where our heart truly lies. On his succession as king, Solomon was asked to name what he wanted from God. Our instinctive response to the question “what do you want” often reveals what matters to us most. Solomon was not drawn to the superficiality of success and power. He does not ask for a long life for himself; neither does he ask for great wealth nor to defeat his enemies. Instead, Solomon asks that he might share in the wisdom of God so that he could understand himself and the people entrusted to him as God understood them. 

Our current situation through this Covid-19 pandemic forces each of us to stop and consider what is important. Our lives have been turned upside down and we have been asked to change how we approach even our most routine of tasks. Shopping in a grocery store, visiting a loved one in a nursing home or hospital, going to work, school or gym and countless other everyday givens now have to be thought about and negotiated in ways unfamiliar to us. For the last few months, we awake each day and do what needs to be done, continue to isolate ourselves from others and attempt to maintain some normalcy to our lives.

While we accept that we must change the way we do things now, the emotional fallout of that change can be great. One cannot help but realize through these challenging times what is really important. The significance and specialness of family, friends, God, creation, community, life, and faith are brought front and center. This unprecedented experience has changed us and continues to impact our daily rituals. Many relay feelings of heightened anxiety, irritability, sadness, a sense of loss, anger, fear, unsettledness, and even apathy. We find ourselves standing at a crossroads between the familiar and the unfamiliar.

We have to be honest and realize that oftentimes we focus too much energy on the unimportant superficial stuff and neglect paying attention to the things that really make a difference. And it is only the wisdom that comes from God can bring light to all of our darkness. Solomon asked God for the gift of understanding so that he would know what is right. Wisdom is the most precious gift a person can have. Without it all other things are useless because we won’t know how to use them properly. Wisdom is a gift that comes from God and one that allows us to see what is right and true. It allows us to connect the dots of our experience and find the path to what is ultimately important. Wisdom is not the same thing as knowledge. Knowledge is acquired through hard work; wisdom is a gift from God.  As a gift that comes from God, wisdom leads us to God. As believers our primary task is to know what is right. So, a prayer for wisdom and understanding must always be on our lips. 

In the gospel, Jesus compared the kingdom of Heaven to a net cast into sea which catches all kinds of fish. When it is full, the fisherman hauls it ashore, and sorts out the good fish from the worthless fish. The good he keeps and the bad he throws away. In a sense, all of us are fishers. Each day we cast our net into the sea of life. And at the end of the day, we have a catch. Sometimes small, sometimes large. May we take time to sift through the catch. And may the Lord give us the wisdom to know what to keep and what to throw away.

-- Here we show some of the verses from the readings, as Msgr. Joseph shared this homily at our Surf City location, which was not recorded on video.

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Tags: Msgr Joseph Ntuwa, Homily on wisdom, All Saints Catholic Church
 

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