Homily for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (C).
I’m back to my day job in Rome, so this week I’m posting a homily from 2016, given the day after my ordination to the diaconate.
Today’s Gospel reading is perhaps the single most unfortunate passage in Scripture to have to preach about to a congregation consisting mostly of family members, so we’re going to work our way up to it by starting with the Old Testament.
The Old Testament reading is from the Book of Wisdom. You’ll be happy to know that I took an entire course on the Biblical wisdom tradition and have prepared a brief 45-minute summary as an introduction to the homily. We can skip all that, however, if you will consider for a moment the question of what it means to be wise.
To understand what wisdom is, it can be helpful, first, to think about what it is not. Wisdom is not the same thing as being clever; we probably know people who are clever manipulators, for example, but not really wise. Wisdom is not the same as knowledge, as knowing lots of facts. Teachers know that there’s a difference between a student who memorizes what he hears and then regurgitates it, and a student who actually thinks about what she’s learning. Wisdom is not the same thing as being educated. If you’ve been in school as long as I have, you realize that there are some very foolish people with PhDs. And we all probably know people who didn’t receive much education who nonetheless we’d consider wise because they had a sense for people, a sense for what was right and wrong, a sense for what really matters in life.Continue reading “What is wisdom?”