Lectionary Reflection for October 14, 2012: The Wisdom of the Gospel

Lectionary Reflection:

  • Wisdom 7:7-11. I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me, and in her company all good things.
  • Hebrews 4:12-13. God’s word is sharper than any two-edged sword. It judges the thoughts of the heart. Nothing is concealed. For everything we must render an account.
  • Mark 10: 17-30. One thing more you must do. Go and sell what you have and give to the poor. Whatever we have given up to follow Jesus, will return to us a hundred fold.

Thought for your consideration:

St. James tells us in his epistle, “if any of you is lacking wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting… for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.” (Jas 1:5-8) In today’s readings we are told about the power and price of God’s wisdom. In the letter to the Hebrews we learn that the gift of wisdom pursues the truth and one who is able to wield this gift will be able to uncover hidden goals and objectives. However James’ caution is that true wisdom only functions when you devote yourself to it unwaveringly. The wisdom of the world can and will confuse us. In our own time, for example, we may be tempted to identify our social concerns within the partisan framework of our political culture.

Jesus invites the rich young man in today’s gospel to give himself entirely to the Gospel message. Unfortunately, this invitation proved to be too steep of a challenge for this young man.  Jesus acknowledges the difficulty of this invitation but maintains that the price for God’s wisdom and grace is nothing less than your whole self (and all your attachments). The Gospel message cannot be compromised. It would be great and easy for us to simply take those passages that fit within our comfortable lifestyle and ignore the ones that challenge us. But as St. Augustine tells us, “If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.” (Sermons 20,2)

One of the temptations that compromise the message is to address a single issue focus when addressing the political concerns of this nation. Even when the issue is a legitimate Catholic concern, if we narrow ourselves through the lens of a single issue then we will inevitably take up a partisan perspective. This is true for both liberal and conservative issues. This is a point that Cardinal Ratzinger (our present Pope) made in his 2002 Doctrinal note on the “Participation of Catholics in Political Life.”

The Christian faith is an integral unity, and thus it is incoherent to isolate some particular element to the detriment of the whole of Catholic doctrine. A political commitment to a single isolated aspect of the Church’s social doctrine does not exhaust one’s responsibility towards the common good. Nor can a Catholic think of delegating his Christian responsibility to others; rather, the Gospel of Jesus Christ gives him this task, so that the truth about man and the world might be proclaimed and put into action. #4


About jdgonzo73

I am a Catholic lay minister in the field of Christian ethics, Latino theology and Paulacrucian spirituality. I am currently a Doctor of Ministry student at Fordham, an ad-junct professor at Molloy College and St. John's University and the Project Coordinator with the Catholic Roundtable.
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