True wisdom. Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

Joseph Evans comments on the readings for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time and Luis Herrera offers a short video homily.

Joseph Evans-July 27, 2023-Reading time: 2 minutes

In today's first reading, King Solomon is blessed for having asked for the best possible gift: wisdom. For having asked for the highest gift, and not for lesser things like riches and victory over his enemies, he is granted these lesser gifts as well. 

The specific aspect of wisdom that Solomon is asking for is. "an attentive heart to judge your people", the gift of discernment. Wisdom consists in knowing how to make distinctions, to distinguish what is important from what is not. 

Elders often show wisdom because the long experience of life has helped them to realize what is important and what is not. And it is this wisdom that is at stake in the Gospel.

Jesus begins with two examples of people who discern what is most valuable and, having done so, are willing to make sacrifices to obtain it: the man who discovers a treasure hidden in a field and is willing to sell everything he owns to buy the field, and the merchant who finds a pearl of great value and sells everything he owns to buy it. 

Wisdom discerns what matters in life and is willing to make all the necessary sacrifices to obtain it. Wisdom will lead us to make all the necessary sacrifices to be faithful to our vocation, which for each of us is the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price.

Part of this wisdom consists in knowing what to keep and what to discard. That is why, in the following parable, Jesus gives the example of some fishermen who go over their catch, collect the good fish in a basket and throw away the useless ones. What is of quality? What is garbage? What to keep? What to discard? What has perennial value? What is only temporarily beneficial? These are decisions we all have to make and part of the wisdom is not to give absolute value to that which has only relative value. There will be things in a relationship that must be discarded for it to be strengthened, or even to survive. There will be habits and possessions that we must discard in order to stay true to our path. 

But wisdom has one more aspect, a healthy relationship with the past, and that is why Jesus gives the final example of a scribe who knows how to draw from his "...".treasure" of the past "the new and the old". Wisdom values tradition and the ideas of those who have gone before us and does not foolishly try to reinvent the wheel at every turn. But again, and this is an important lesson for the Church, there are things from the past that need to be preserved, and there are other things that are no longer necessary. Tradition is not worshipping the past for the sake of the past. It is to know what in the past truly expresses the will of God and what was merely the expression of men, however legitimate it may have been at the time.

Homily on the readings of the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

The priest Luis Herrera Campo offers its nanomiliaA short one-minute reflection for these Sunday readings.

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