DISCOVER THE WAY OF WISDOM. HOMILY FOR THE 17TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A) Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.

THE WAY WISDOM

An old man finds a precious stone in a stream as he travels along a mountain region. Later he meets another traveler and decides to share his lunch with him. The traveler sees the precious stone in the old man’s bag while they eat and requests for it. The old man gladly offers it to him, and he leaves immediately with an immense joy at finding a great treasure.

After walking for a considerable distance, the traveler stops and decides to go back to the old man and to give him back the precious stone for a reason we shall discover shortly.

He meets the old man and asks him if he knows the value of the precious stone, and he says yes, and the traveler says to him: “I would rather have that thing which made you give me the precious stone; it should be more valuable than the precious stone itself.”  The old man who is a wise man says to him in reply: “It is what you and I have; our souls, the difference is what each soul sees as having more value than other things.” Your life runs on your values.

The Gospel of today (Matt. 13:44-52) concludes the seven parables of the kingdom of heaven by our Lord Jesus Christ in the thirteenth Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. In fact, we have three parables in the Gospel of this Sunday, and one thing that joins them together is the wisdom to search for the greatest value.

Wisdom as a phenomenon is not easy to define. You can try a definition! The only way to understand wisdom is to view it first as a gift from God. In the First Reading, today (1 Kings 3:5, 7-12) Solomon prefers wisdom as a gift from God to material wealth, long life, and fame but God gives him all of them. Secondly, wisdom is the ability to understand what is ultimately right and go for it. It is all about making the best choice.

In our world today, we talk about high intelligence quotient, emotional intelligence and more recently, social intelligence. Above all these comes wisdom which comes from God. If you take a little time to read the epistle of St. James (3:13-17), the Apostle differentiates between the wisdom of the world that is impure and the pure wisdom that comes directly from God; this we can also call spiritual intelligence.

Wisdom, nay, spiritual intelligence helps us to see, accept and do the will of God. True wisdom helps us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and not the passing things of this world (Matt. 6:33). True wisdom tells us that our life on earth is short but the life after is eternal and needs to be secured. We shall be looking carefully to learn the lessons of wisdom in the three parables.

Hidden Treasure

Great things are not usually visible. Consider precious stones like diamond, gold, silver, and others. In the human body too, the more valuable components are not visible, and we may never see them all through our lives like the heart, the brain, liver, kidney, and others.

In the first parable, our Lord says that the Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure a man finds in the field and covers up. Then selling everything he has, he buys the field. The man discovers the treasure by digging deep, and he was wise enough to give up everything to own the field which also entails owning the hidden treasure.

Three important things the man does in the parable are: digging deep, selling all he has and buying the field. To dig deep requires patience, commitment, and resilience. To sell everything one has is not an easy thing to do. Wisdom sustains faith and it believes without a doubt (Mark 11:22-13). Finally, the man buys the field which may be a senseless thing to do regarding the location or other physical attributes. However, he is more concerned about what lies beneath the field.

Fine Pearls

Pearls develop under the sea. They are hard, bright, and iridescent objects that grow on oysters that live on the sea bed. They don’t need to be refined like precious stones as they come shimmering and glowing. Fabricators use pearls in the making of various kinds of jewelry, ornaments and for different kinds decorations.

Pearls are valuable, and it is not surprising that the merchant who finds ones of great value sells all he has and buys them. We need to pay attention to the fact that the merchant goes for the pearls of GREAT VALUE.

Sometimes we settle for less when we can even get more. Often, we misplace values by assuming that certain things are valuable when indeed they are of less value. Wisdom consists in searching for the higher value even when they appear to be of less value now.

People struggle daily to make ends meet. We work to get paid and to be able to provide for our material needs. But come to think of it; life is short. All our efforts would end one day; then another life begins which will never end.

True wisdom helps us to secure eternal life while dealing with this physical life. Our Lord says: “For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? (Mark 8:36).  True wisdom helps us to search for the kingdom of heaven beyond various conflicting kingdoms in our world today.

Collecting the good and discarding the bad

The parable tells us that a fisherman collects all sorts of fish in the net and later settles down to sort the good ones out and discard the bad ones. It is instructive to know that not all the fish in the sea are edible. Some are very poisonous though they may appear good.

One of the characteristics of wisdom is the ability to differentiate between what is worthwhile and what is worthless. There is a need for us to sit down and sort out from our collections, the things that are helpful and needful for our salvation and those that are not just helpful. Most of the choices most of us make in life are useless and unhelpful for our lives. It takes true wisdom to sort out the good from the bad and to make the right choices (Luke 10:42).

Today, we are invited to pray for true wisdom after the manner of King Solomon. Wisdom is a key that is capable of opening so many doors for us especially the door to eternal life; the kingdom of heaven. The choice for wisdom conforms us to the will of God. The choice for wisdom makes everything to work for our good as the Apostle Paul tells us in the Second Reading (Romans 8:28-30).

May we journey with divine wisdom as we enter a new week and may the grace of God take us beyond our dreams. Have a “wisdomable” week ahead.

Fr. Bonnie.

2 Comments on “DISCOVER THE WAY OF WISDOM. HOMILY FOR THE 17TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A) Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.

  1. Thank you Fr Bonnie for this great insight into the way of Wisdom. May God Continue to enrich you with more Wisdom from above to shepherd his flock.
    God bless you,
    Rose

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