The Pursuit of Wisdom

Today is the memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, a Doctor of the Church, and medieval scholastic philosopher and theologian. His best-known works are the Disputed Questions on Truth, the Summa contra Gentiles, and the unfinished but influential Summa Theologiae. The first reading for the memorial is from the Book of Wisdom. There are commentaries a plenty on the whole of the book and I would not attempt such a effort, but I would note that, (a) besides being a great source of a reading to honor St. Thomas, (b) it has importance for our times.

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What should be evident

In St. Paul’s letter to the Romans he quickly addresses gentile people’s culpability for knowing – or at least having an strong inclination of – the one true God given they did not have the benefit of the covenant relationship with Him. Paul writes: “For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse; for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened. While claiming to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:19-22) Continue reading

Praying for Wisdom

Last week the question was “who do you say that I am?” Did you come up with an answer? Maybe some of you are thinking to yourself… “did he really expect us to think about that question?” Short answer: yes. Seems like a pretty important question, don’t ya’ think? I didn’t say it was an easy question, just an important one… perhaps the most important you will ever answer in this lifetime. It is the kind of question that calls for wisdom.

When was the last time you prayed for wisdom? Continue reading

Concrete Answers

Yesterday in our nation’s capital was a planned rally in support of people who were connected to the insurrection event of January 6, 2021 and are currently being investigated by federal authorities. Apparently the attendance was far less than expected on the part of organizers and Capitol police. As part of the news coverage, a person was interviewed about their presence and what they hoped for as an outcome. The person essentially denied there had been any unrest on January 6th that people were just entering a public building (the US Capital) and now were being persecuted and prosecuted unjustly. When shown film of the event, the storming of the building, the assaulting of police officers, the reaction was that it was just government propaganda. When it was further explained that social media was filled with clips, taken by those storming the building, and posted online – that too was waved away as a government plot. Apart from it being a very sad state of current affairs, it is also an ever present state of affairs. Did we really land on the moon? I mean…. Have you ever met someone who stepped foot on the moon? Continue reading

The Wisdom of Generosity

In the well known parable of today’s gospel, the landowner goes out to secure laborers for the harvest. At the end of the day, all laborers are paid the same regardless of the time of day at which their labor began. Some complain that they worked from sunrise, while the ones who only began day’s end are paid the same. This has been a week of teachings on wisdom and riches…. what is today’s lesson?

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Being Tested

In the Garden of Eden, humans are presented with a test, a choice between two trees. This familiar story is the beginning of a narrative pattern we see play out again and again throughout the biblical story. But why does God choose to test people? It may seem cruel or like he’s attempting to trap humans into making the wrong choice, but the biblical story is clear. God’s desire is to partner with humans, and these tests are opportunities for humans to return to the ideals of the garden despite our countless failures.

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The Wisdom of Generosity

In the well known parable of today’s gospel, the landowner goes out to secure laborers for the harvest. At the end of the day, all laborers are paid the same regardless of the time of day at which their labor began. Some complain that they worked from sunrise, while the ones who only began day’s end are paid the same. This has been a week of teachings on wisdom and riches…. what is today’s lesson?

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Wondering and Wisdom

Study of the Sacred Scriptures is a lifetime project. In a certain sense you can devote all your energies to the Gospels – or even just to one of them. There is so much richness and depth that it can leave you wanting more and more from the one book.  And you might just not get around to the other books of the Bible. Sure, you might venture into the epistles of Paul, but never quite make it the other epistles, like the Epistle of Jude. Continue reading

Wisdom: begotten

waterandspiritBegotten, Not Created. The language of “begetting,” “created,” and the like has, historically, been the source of great controversies. Beginning at least as early as the apologist Justin Martyr (A.D. 125), Christians, almost without exception, identified Sophia/Wisdom in Proverbs 8 with Jesus Christ. This almost universal interpretation of the passage embroiled the church in controversy about the precise nature of the relationship between God and Christ. From the time of Origen (ca. A.D. 180) patristic exegesis interpreted Wisdom’s birth in Proverbs 8:25 as Christ’s continual coming into existence. Not all agreed with such understanding. Lead by the Alexandrian deacon Arius, a group called the Arians held that there was a time when the Son “was not” and thus the Son was created as God’s most exalted creature. They concluded this using Prov. 8:22, “the LORD begot/created me,” as their primary text. In contrast, orthodox Christians held that Christ was of the same substance as the Father, the true Son of God, and not a creature. Orthodoxy interpreted Prov. 8:22 by explaining that the ever-existing Son was “created” when he became incarnate. According to his second strategy, the “creation of Wisdom was actually the creation of Wisdom’s image in creatures as they were brought into being.” Continue reading