Word Alive: The heart and essence of wisdom

Sarah Hart

Friday, November 6, 2020

Image by Lenora Cagle from Pixabay

The heart and essence of wisdom

A reflection for the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

by Sarah Hart

 
This Sunday’s readings give us a glimpse into an often-overlooked concept of spirituality: wisdom.
In this time in our world, when fear is at its height, wisdom suffers greatly. Racism, political upheaval, and a global pandemic have exacerbated our already often fragile social structure. That fragility amplifies our fear, causing confusion, pain, and chaos, leading us to a breaking down of community and the ability to recognize Christ in our neighbour. Being overcome by fear means we are often not wise in our decisions, in the ways we approach one another, in the way we speak to or treat one another. Wisdom is so often absent these days as she takes a backseat to the tangibility of our fears. And yet, these readings come to remind us: the pursuit of wisdom is not only noble, but very necessary.
Recently, a friend posted something outrageous on social media. This is nothing unusual, as social media has become a platform to find out what you agree with about your neighbour – and, equally, what you don’t. I commented (my first mistake) that I did not think his post was written in the spirit of love and that he was grouping an awfully large population into one issue and that this was neither fair nor loving. I was immediately attacked by a seemingly endless, militant army of angry commenters – all people I neither know nor have ever met. It is easy to attack others when we only know them as a sentence on a page.
Of course, my initial, honest, human reaction was this: “How can these people be so careless?”
But, perhaps, my initial reaction should have been to ask myself: “Sarah, are you wise to post this comment? Whom will it serve? What good will it do? How does this comment prepare you for the days to come or help you to grow in faith?”
It is much easier to blame others than to look inwardly.
In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus is teaching about wisdom and its sinister opposite, foolishness. For certain, this Gospel is a lesson in spiritual preparedness for the second coming. However, when I look at this passage, I also believe that this is a lesson for today, for each and every day, because the Lord is ALWAYS calling on us. Jesus is consistently here with us, presenting Himself endlessly in the disguise of “the other”, asking us to be ready to receive him as “neighbour”, not with fear or with panic but with love. This is where wisdom must enter the picture, in every encounter; we are not merely speaking to/looking at/serving a brother or sister but Christ within them. We are either prepared to meet Jesus there, or we are not. The heart and essence of wisdom.
If we are to be prepared for the Lord, it must be a preparedness of every day. A constant love for neighbour. A move away from the need to be right or make a point and toward the need to serve someone. A long, honest glimpse into that dreaded mirror to ask ourselves the question: “Lord, am I prepared to meet you here?”
“Resplendent and unfading is wisdom,
and she is readily perceived by those who love her,
and found by those who seek her.” (Wisdom 6:12)
Lord give us the wisdom to see you in all people and receive you at all times. Find us ready.
 

The readings for the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, are
Wisdom 6:12-16
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Matthew 25:1-13


Sarah Hart is a leading figure in contemporary Catholic music today. Originally from Lancaster, Ohio, she holds a degree in music from The Ohio State University. Now based in Nashville, Tennessee, she spends much of her time on the road — juggling a busy songwriting, recording, concert, and event schedule. She is also an avid writer, having published multiple retreat books, along with a musical based on the life of Saint Bernadette. She currently lives in Nashville with her husband and two daughters.
Instagram: sarahhartmusic
Facebook: sarahhartmusicofficial
Website: sarahhart.com
 
 

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