Monday, February 17, 2020

6th OT (Cycle A) God's Wisdom

    When I came to live in the United States, about 35 years ago, I had what you would call a culture shock. Mostly because I came from a culture in which Catholicism was part of everything I did. It was not that religion was part of life, it was that religion was life. I still remember when, during the Holy Week all schools, government and private businesses were closed. The only thing open were churches. On TV (Granted we only had 3 channels) the only things you could watch  were movies about the life of Jesus and especially his passion.
    When I relocated to this area  everything was different. Here the Catholic religion was one among many, and that one was part of the minority. Worst, the way people talked about the Church, the things they said were so outrageously wrong to me an informed Catholic, that many times I was left speechless, not because I did not have the answers but because a comment was too outrageous to even deserve an answer.
     There were many things that confused my religious sensibilities back then but the most confusing thing for me was the usage of the Lord's name. You see, since I was a child the Lord’s name was always in my parents lips. In fact, growing up, our day to day talk was filled with religious references. In the Puerto Rico of my childhood we were constantly giving thanks to God, blessing his name and requesting favors for ourselves. The names of Jesus, Mary and Joseph were common companions in our speech.  Of course when I arrived in Maryland I just began to translate this custom into my English speech, so in my new job, with my new friends, even in public I began to  use the name  of “Jesus” often.  Boy was I wrong! Finally one of the secretaries that worked with me, pulled me to the side and corrected me. Because, unknown to me, I was “using the name of the Lord in vain”.  I tried to explain to her that I would never use the name of the Lord in a less than worthy way, but that was beside the point. The people listening to me did not care about my intentions but about the fact that I was actually using the name of Jesus in a “secular”setting.
    And this was the moment in which I discovered one of the realities of our fallen human nature: When we make an action, speak a word or even give a look most people only care about what it means to them.  They don’t care about our intentions, they will only judge our actions by the way these actions make them feel. That is the sad reality of our human wisdom, that it can only focues on what we perceive.
    Today’s readings remind us that God’s wisdom is unlike our human wisdom. God looks in what is in our hearts he doesn’t wait until we make up our minds and make an action. Human wisdom tells us that killing is wrong, God’s wisdom tells us that we can kill someone way before we lift a finger against them. Human wisdom tells us adultery is wrong, God’s wisdom tells us we can hurt our relationship with our loved ones way before we touch, kiss or even reconnect with that long lost highschool flame. Human wisdom tells us not to make false promises, God’s wisdom tells us not to make promises at all, to let our words be yes or no, anything else will just open us to the temptation and occasions to lie. 
   God’s wisdom is based on what matters in all of us, the state of our souls.  Paul calls God’s wisdom something mysterious and hidden. Mysterious because it is unlike any type of human wisdom we can conceive. Hidden because it can reach deeply within our souls and we can not hide from its presence. The spirit scrutinizes everything, even the deepest corners of our souls. I assure you my brothers and sisters, nothing is hidden to God; because of our baptism the spirit IS the constant companion of our souls every second of every day, witnessing to what resides in our hearts.  He is a witness to every thought and desire we indulge, in every second of every day, and testifies about the way we decide to live our lives.
  I guess the best way of finishing today is by repeating the words of the first reading: “If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you; If you trust in God, you too shall live; Before man are life and death, good and evil, whichever he chooses shall be given him.  Immense is the wisdom of the Lord;he is mighty in power, and all-seeing” GBMBAS