Psalm 123:1-2, 2, 3-4
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Wisdom Beyond Time and Space
The Incarnation represents for us the dawning of salvation. The characters involved in the events surrounding this watershed in history were people like us. Since salvation was to be offered to the world, God’s wisdom came to rest in the midst of the human condition. Jesus, for us, is the wisdom of God. Jesus was confronted by the fragility of human existence. His hand of healing was extended to the poor, the broken hearted, the weak, the strong, the outcast, the sinner, the possessed, the dispossessed, the depraved, the religious, the nonreligious, the God-filled, the Godless, the blind, the sick and the dead. Jesus was a man for all seasons who touched and transformed the heart of humanity. The most powerful factor in all of this, the Word became flesh to dwell among us, to transform us. God becomes one with us to show us how to be truly human.
We cannot fully appreciate the context within which Jesus lived. Scripture tells us that he came from a small town of Nazareth. It was a basic town in which very simple town folk existed. Their lives would have been very basic where trade and commerce took place on a very local level. Roman legions would have probably been scarce, but the people had to pay taxes to Caesar. Jesus was born into this simple life. He was the son of Mary and the Carpenter, Joseph. He would have been taught the trade of his foster father in order to make ends meet. His contemporaries watched him grow and mature. It is not surprising, therefore, to see Jesus being rejected in today’s account of the gospel. For the believers of the day, God existed in the heavens. The work of the Lord was accomplished in the Anointed people God had chosen. The questions they would have been asking, “How can Jesus perform the great acts of faith? How can he have such wisdom for he is one of us?” Jesus realizes their lack of faith and is not able to accomplish God’s work among his own and has to move on. The negative aspect of humanity gets in the way of Jesus’ gift to transform humanity.
The reality of God is clear. Jesus became flesh to become a model of perfection for humanity. Just like the prophets and the chosen disciples, God likewise chooses people like us to accomplish his mission. Through the very nature of baptism, we are set apart to make his presence known in the world today. The wisdom of God is to speak through us – our words and deeds. We have an opportunity to reach out to the various groups of people that Jesus reached out to. The ministry and wisdom of Jesus transcends time and space to occupy an important place in our faith life and journey. We might very well face opposition from the contemporaries of our day. Maybe there will be some who might always be on the sidelines pointing out our inconsistencies when we are trying to be consistent in living out the gospel. The scriptures today give us courage. In the words of Paul in the second reading today: “Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
image: Meeting during Second Vatican Council (Catholic News Service)
We pray: Lord, help us to be prophets of our day. Empower us to read the signs of modern day and discern where we are to give witness to You. We ask that Your wisdom will lead and guide us in all things. May Your ways be our ways and Your thoughts our thoughts. Amen.
Why do you think Jesus is rejected in his native place?
What wisdom and works were the people referring to?
What are the fruits of a lack of faith?
Name the times you have been rejected because of your faith with people familiar to you.
Why do you think people reject the wisdom of God from the very ones they know and love?
How is God’s grace sufficient and enough for you?
In what ways is the Spirit at work in your life?
Wisdom of the Fathers
“The term laity is here understood to mean all the faithful except those in holy orders and those in the state of religious life specially approved by the Church. These faithful are by baptism made one body with Christ and are constituted among the People of God; they are in their own way made sharers in the priestly, prophetical, and kingly functions of Christ; and they carry out for their own part the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world….
But the laity, by their very vocation, seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God. They live in the world, that is, in each and in all of the secular professions and occupations. They live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life, from which the very web of their existence is woven. They are called there by God that by exercising their proper function and led by the spirit of the Gospel they may work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven. In this way they may make Christ known to others, especially by the testimony of a life resplendent in faith, hope and charity….”
— Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, paragraph 31