The Word as Wisdom
08 November 2021, Monday of the 32nd Week in the Ordinary Time
Lk 17: 1-6
The acclamation of today’s Responsorial Psalm says, “Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.” (Ps 139) God’s ways, even if we can hardly understand and even so challenging to follow, are “everlasting”. The word “everlasting” does not refer to quantity such as a prolonged life (e.g. charged with medical interventions). Everlasting refers to qualities, values and virtues that give meaning, purpose and direction. How does the Lord guide us?
In the Gospel, Jesus warns us with realities that will come to us. These realities are due to human defects and even sinfulness and these are (1) scandals, that is, causing one another to sin and (2) unforgiveness. Sometimes we are overwhelmed by these. Like the apostles, we ask the Lord, “Increase our faith!” How can a quality (faith) be increased? Is Jesus proposing a method of quantifying the quality of faith?
Faith can never be quantified. But we know that we are living in the light of faith if we are wise. Wisdom does not mean intelligence. In the 1st Reading, those who are wise are those who love justice, who embrace integrity of life and those who are kind. In the Gospel, wisdom is evident not only in distinguishing what is right from what is wrong but when we forgive seven times, that is, bottomless and unlimited. Mercy manifests God’s justice.
Living in a community we come to know each other’s weakness and defects, struggles and limitations. But we are not just any community formed by human desire but God calls us to live and to work together for a common mission. We are willed by God. His will manifests His own wisdom. When we rise above our human limitations by understanding, by forgiving and by being compassionate to each other, our prayer that says, “Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way”, is not only answered by God but we become the very answer to our prayer. Amen.
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