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Wednesday – Seventh week – OT1
Readings: Sir 4:11-19; Mk 9:38-40.
1/ Reading I: RSV Sirach 4:11 Wisdom exalts her sons and gives help to those who seek her. 12 Whoever loves her loves life, and those who seek her early will be filled with joy. 13 Whoever holds her fast will obtain glory, and the Lord will bless the place she enters. 14 Those who serve her will minister to the Holy One; the Lord loves those who love her. 15 He who obeys her will judge the nations, and whoever gives heed to her will dwell secure. 16 If he has faith in her he will obtain her; and his descendants will remain in possession of her. 17 For at first she will walk with him on tortuous paths, she will bring fear and cowardice upon him, and will torment him by her discipline until she trusts him, and she will test him with her ordinances. 18 Then she will come straight back to him and gladden him, and will reveal her secrets to him. 19 If he goes astray she will forsake him, and hand him over to his ruin.
2/ Gospel: NAU Mark 9:38 John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to prevent him because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in my name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 “For he who is not against us is for us.””
I. THEME: The wise know how to open themselves to all people.
We can recognize a clear difference between the free market and the controlled market by its government. In the free market, everyone has a right to produce and to use; the result of a free competition helps the producer to advance and the consumer to have a good product at a reasonable price. It also helps the nation to prosper. In the controlled market, only a small number has a right to produce and to consume. A lack of competition kills individual inventions and keeps the nation in poverty. Therefore, in order for a nation to prosper, the government should open up their market with a minimum of control to protect their common good.
Today readings illustrate we also need to apply such wisdom in the spiritual area. In the first reading, the author of the Book of Sirach highlights the results which divine wisdom can produce for people. In the Gospel, when the apostle John tried to prevent others who don’t belong to his group to expel demons in Jesus’ name, Jesus teaches him a wise lesson: “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in my name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. “For he who is not against us is for us.””
1/ Reading I: We need to learn God’s wisdom.
1.1/ The benefits of divine wisdom: The author cited many, we can sum up in the following three main benefits:
(1) Fear the Lord is the origin of all wisdom: Those who fear the Lord know themselves in their relationship with God. They are humble and ready to learn wisdom from Him; not to be proud of their wisdom or the worldly wisdom.
Those who follow God’s wisdom shall “obtain glory, and the Lord will bless the place she (wisdom) enters.” God loves those who search and live according to His wisdom. The most important result of divine wisdom is to help one to reach the ultimate goal of one’s life.
(2) The wise know how to behave with others: They shall have peace and live in harmony with all people. They shall be set as leaders to judge people. Their wisdom shall make people to honor them because they know how to solve problems.
(3) The wise train their family according to divine wisdom: When one can see all benefits of divine wisdom, they shall educate their members and help them to live according to it. To teach their children divine wisdom is more precious than to leave for them all worldly precious stone and gold. Wise parents know how to teach and to hand on it to their children; if parents aren’t wise, how can they help their children to live according to the divine wisdom?
1.2/ Wisdom demands a long training: Wisdom isn’t naturally come; it is partly from God and partly from people. God gives it to men and they must develop it. The process of learning and developing wisdom is harder than the military process of soldiers because it requires the whole human life—time to learn in school and time to practice it in one’s life. Verse 17 describes difficulties on the way to learn wisdom, “For at first she will walk with him on tortuous paths, she will bring fear and cowardice upon him, and will torment him by her discipline until she trusts him, and she will test him with her ordinances.”
When one possesses wisdom, he shall be glad because he knows all mysteries of life, how to behave in order to reach the ultimate goal of his life, and to live his relationships with God and others; whereas, if one is lazy and in falsity, wisdom shall leave him in his destruction.
2/ Gospel: We should open up ourselves to all people.
We can recognize two complete opposite tendencies through the conversation between Jesus and his disciples.
2.1/ The narrow tendency which only concerns for oneself and his group: Mark gave the reason why John prevented others from using Jesus’ name to expel demons because “they don’t belong to our group.” This is the worldly wisdom who thinks they must be monopolized and keep
secret for their own benefits. They are afraid of others to be better than or equal to them. This monopolized attitude doesn’t want anybody to have that power save him and his group so they can control others. This attitude also leads one to think that he or his group is the best, and to despise people or other groups.
2.2/ The wide tendency which opens up to welcome all others: In opposition with human selfish and calculated attitude, God’s wisdom thinks of freely give, let all people know and share what one has to all. Jesus welcomes others who expel demons in his name since he wants everyone to know his holy name. He hopes that when they see the power of his name, they shall also believe in him.
Jesus taught his disciples to wisely behave, “For he who is not against us is for us.” If the disciples must fear, they should fear their opposed party because the neutral are easily to convince than the opposed party.
Moreover, a concise understanding of life shall help us to easily give and to better welcome others. The ultimate goal of life is to live in a way that we could happily live with God forever. Power, authority, fame and material gains are only the means which people use when they are living in this world. Therefore, people must use all God’s given means to help people to know God and to believe in him so that they might receive their salvation. If we don’t know how to wisely use them, these means shall become the goals to prevent us and others from coming to God’s house.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– We must learn all divine wisdom in order to live with others in harmony, to benefit ourselves and others.
– If we live according to worldly wisdom, we shall limit ourselves in individuals or group, and God’s kingdom can’t be developed and arrived.
– To learn and to live according to God’s wisdom aren’t easy because they demand us to give up what we possess. Only when we know the benefits of living according to divine wisdom, we can have the strength to overcome worldly values and standards.