Faith And Wisdom

Peace and grace to you!

Is there something that you’ve been thinking of doing for a while and you just haven’t gotten around to it?  Maybe you’ve been thinking about saying “thank you” to a friend or doing more with your son or daughter, grandchildren, or your spouse but you just haven’t done it yet.

This weekend’s first reading teaches us about wisdom.  As we reflect upon it, we get a sense of how active and agile the spirit of wisdom is.  The Holy Spirit has a continuous spontaneity and is always creative in love and joy.  For our part, we need only ask the Holy Spirit to come to us and embrace us.  When we do, we experience the Holy Spirit as a joy filled stream!

In the Gospel, Jesus uses a parable depicting the wise in contrast with the foolish.  In the story, the wise are those who brought oil for their lamps while the foolish did not think ahead.  At first we ask ourselves what does the oil in the story represent?  There are some other sayings of Jesus that give us a clue here.  When Jesus said, whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me, – or – you are the light of the world, let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”  So we can understand that the oil stands for good deeds, deeds of charity.  But good deeds alone are not enough.

Jesus referred to the wise and the foolish when he said Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them, is like the wise one who built his house on rock.  And everyone who does not act on them will be like the fool who built his house on sand.”  Obviously, our efforts to make the Word become flesh must be grounded in faith and discipleship in Jesus.  One part of the story that raises inner tension for us is the fact that all of the virgins went out together to wait for the Lord.  That is faith—but without works, as St. James says, faith is dead.  Another poignant realization is that those with more oil did not share with those who had less, because the deeds that others do in faith cannot be attributed to those who do little or nothing.  Each of us must give a personal account.  As good stewards, we are mindful of God’s gifts to us and we watch for the opportunities to give to God that come before us each day.  The works we are called to are many and our joy increases as we engage in them.

May God bless you with wisdom and peace! +++ Fr. Peter

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