Saturday, May 30, 2015

Answer Me

I burned with desire for her, never relenting. I became preoccupied with her, never weary of extolling her. I spread out my hands to the heavens and I came to know her secrets. For her I purified my hands; in cleanness I attained to her. At first acquaintance with her, I gained understanding such that I will never forsake her.  Sirach 51:19-20

“Answer me.”  Mark 11:30B

We must be on our guard, therefore, against evil desires,
for death lies close by the gate of pleasure.
Hence the Scripture gives this command:
"Go not after your concupiscence." (Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 7 On Humility)

The pursuit of wisdom is an activity to which I was not much aware until I reported to college back in 1975.  Before that, it was school for school’s sake – you went because it was the law and your family expected you to finish high school. Back then, college was not always a requirement for a career as much as it is today.

The first reading is a hymn that describes Ben Sira’s his approach to wisdom not by heading off to Belmont Abbey College or Notre Dame University but through one of the first examples of the Tripod referred to Biblically -- prayer, persistent study, and instruction and his purification from sin, his enlightenment, and ardent desire to possess wisdom are the focus today. 

The Good News is when the wily Sanhedrin try to spring a trap on Jesus.  The Lord refuses to act defensively but turns the question around on his opponents.  Instead, Jesus challenges the assumptions of those in power.  At this “trial,” he demands answers.  At his next trial, they will demand answers.  Yet Jesus will not submit answers to the authorities now or than. 

Just yesterday, at lunch with a friend and colleague, he posed a riddle to me:  “It is greater than God and more evil than the devil. The poor have it, the rich need it and if you eat it you’ll die. What is it?”  He has given me a week to respond with the answer.  By the end of lunch, I could think of nothing that is greater than God.  (J)

Sometimes, we have to wrestle with fun questions.  Sometimes we have to wrestle with choices between good and evil.  That is easy.  However, the hardest choices are when we have to balance one good option versus an alternate option which also represents a moral good.  Choosing one in discernment means not choosing another good. 

What are you discerning today?  How can your pursuit of wisdom (through piety, study and action) give you the wisdom of Jesus to help you choosing one good option over another?

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