28th Sunday B
October 10th, 2021
St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh
“I prayed and understanding was given to me
and the spirit of Wisdom came to me”
Good advice is much sought after because sound advice helps us avoid the pitfalls and mistakes of the past. This applies in all walks of life – law, medicine, politics. When you think on it, we spend vast sums of money on 3rd level education to ensure that a new generation are well equipped to guide us into the future.
Over time, one thing is clear, not everyone who is well educated and even highly intelligent is always wise in the advice they offer. Wisdom requires something more than information and command of facts – it requires good judgement in the interests of all – what we might call the common good.
This weekend in Rome Pope Francis is launching the Church worldwide on a time of preparation for a Synod of the Church in 2023. In the meantime, we will hear the words Synod and Synodality a great deal. Today, I do not want to dwell on that pathway as such rather in the light of the reading from the book of Wisdom and from the Letter to the Hebrews to give us a sense of the spiritual wisdom that will be the inspiration of our journey together.
The Church often speaks of itself as a pilgrim people, a people journeying in time under the guidance of God / Holy Spirit. Like ourselves individually we wonder what the right path is. On that journey we rely on the Word of God for light and direction. The Letter to the Hebrews to-day speaks of that Word of God as alive and active – it is like a two-edged sword in its precision, in its judgement of “secret emotions and thoughts”.
The call of Pope Francis to the whole Church is for a new dialogue, a new conversation among all the disciples regardless of role using the Word as our guide. In the tradition of the Jesuits founder St. Ignatius of Loyola it is called discernment whereby together we try to listen to one another and to the Holy Spirit to discover the call to be authentic Christian witnesses in the 21st century.
The cultural landscape of the world is changing with breath-taking speed. It takes great wisdom and patience to continue to be a messenger of love and guidance at a time of great social fragmentation.
The piece from the Book of Wisdom (1st Reading) presents wisdom as more precious, valuable and acceptable than power, riches and position. Wisdom is more than intelligence and knowledge. It is a way of seeing the world and its peoples through the eyes of our Creator God. It is a question of judgement of what is best, what is truthful, of what is real.
It is said that Covid taught us to look again at our priorities in life – listen to these thoughts from to-day’s Responsorial Psalm
· Make us know the shortness of our life
That we may gain wisdom of heart
· give us joy to balance our affliction
for the years when we knew misfortune
· Show forth your work to your servants
Let your glory shine on their children
This spiritual lens on life enables us to see past the superficial and fanciful to ask what is real and authentic for living a wholesome and full life.
Some in the Church are annoyed and impatient with Pope Francis and his call for a more Synodal Church. Many would be happier if he would stick to the teaching of the Church in the Catechism. Pope Francis is careful and diligent in his teaching task but he is impatient when the Church fails to reach out to respond to the urgent needs of humanity in the way Jesus did. His call is an invitation to engage in this process in order to witness in our time to the treasures of Gospel, and its wisdom and truth for one another.