ACCESSING THE POWER OF TRUE WISDOM 17TH Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Rev. Fr. Bonnie Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.

In life, the best thing you need to know is what you don’t know. What you don’t know can frustrate you, but what you know can even make you a king. Talking about things, the best things in life are not just things; they are valuables. Value is the measure of the usefulness or importance that is attached to a reality.

The problem in our world today is not the scarcity of knowledge; in fact, more than ever in human history, we have a vast information superstructure, especially with the proficiency of the internet. However, the more we know, the less we understand. What we lack in our day and age is a profound understanding and the right application of knowledge.

Did you know Solomon did not technically ask for wisdom when God encouraged him to request anything? He asked for an understanding heart to judge the people to distinguish right from wrong. It was in response to him that God promised to give him a heart so wise and understanding so exceptional. (1 Kings 3:5, 7-8).

What is Wisdom? Wisdom is not easy to define because it is not what you easily pick up anywhere; it can only be obtained after a deep search. Some scriptures even complicated the matter by giving wisdom the characteristics of the female gender (Proverbs 8:1-36).

Knowledge is largely access to information; understanding is the ability to have clarity about the dimensions of what you know. But wisdom is the divine-assisted application of knowledge using the vehicle of understanding. Wisdom discerns and executes. They all come from God (Prov. 2:6), but wisdom is above all, and more is more precious than gold (Prov. 16:16).

The Wisdom in the Parables In the Gospel Reading today (Matt. 13:44-52), our Lord Jesus Christ continues and concludes the series of parables of the kingdom of heaven.

In this section, he begins by likening the kingdom of God to a treasure someone discovers and hides again (which means it was hidden in the first place), and joyfully selling everything he has, the individual buys the field where he found the treasure.

Furthermore, our Lord likened the kingdom of heaven to a merchant searching for fine pearls and finding one of great price; he sells all he has and buys it. Finally, he said that the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind, and, when hauled ashore, one sets out to separate the good from the bad.

How to Access Wisdom for the Kingdom

A critical look at the parables shows that our Lord Jesus Christ was talking about wisdom as a divine infrastructure that gives access to the kingdom of heaven; in other words, wisdom is a kingdom currency. We shall explore how to access wisdom from the high points of the three parables.

Search: To search means to carefully and thoroughly find or locate something hidden. The characters in the parables share one disposition: the search for something valuable, namely treasure, pearls, and good fish.   A search precedes every access to wisdom. This was exactly the case with Solomon. When he was asking God for an understanding heart to judge the people and to be able to distinguish right from wrong, he was literarily searching for wisdom, and he found wisdom.  

The clearest indication of the search for wisdom is the direction of the choices we make in life. To obtain wisdom, search for it. The word of God tells us in the Prophecy of Jeremiah (29:13),” You will seek me and find me when you search me with all your heart.” The apostle James adds, “If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.”  

Get it at all Costs: A mental capture of the activities of the characters in the parables shows that they each threw caution and cost to the wind in their determination to obtain what they were seeking. The first two sold everything they had to get their targeted objects, while the one fishing hauled in everything, good and bad (James 1:5).

  The word of God is very clear about the incomparable value of wisdom. The Book of Proverbs (23:23) says, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.”. Furthermore, we read in Proverbs (8:11) that wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.

  The Fear of the Lord: The truest evidence of the presence of wisdom is the fear of the Lord; in fact, that makes it divine wisdom. The Book of Psalms (111:10 NLT) says, “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.”

The fear of the Lord makes wisdom a dependable kingdom currency because it functions in the discernment and elimination of the bad from the good, like the separation of the good fish from the bad ones in the third parable.  

Fear of God does not mean being scared about God’s anger or judgment. The genuine fear of God comes from love and the determination not to make a choice that negates His will. In short, it has to do with reverence. The presence of the fear of God makes wisdom accessible to us. 

 Moving Forward: Aiming at the Goal of Wisdom

The goal of wisdom is not to make someone appear or sound exceptional to others; neither is wisdom a facility for self-edification. The true purpose of godly wisdom is to make the kingdom of heaven.  

In the Gospel of Matthew (6:33), our Lord said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. It is wisdom to seek eternal values instead of temporary ones.  

Today, we are invited to search for true wisdom after the manner of King Solomon. Wisdom is a key that can open so many doors for us, even to eternal life.  Your search for wisdom would make everything work for our good, as the Apostle Paul tells us in the Second Reading (Romans 8:28-30).

Have a wisdom-filled week. God bless you.

Fr. Boonie.         

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: