FEBRUARY 15/16, 2019
5:00 PM (SAT), 9:00 AM ORDINARY FORM (ENGLISH) MASSES
There is a story, a bit of a subtle joke – but hopefully not too subtle:
Someone once asked a wise Guru: “What is the secret to eternal happiness?” The wise Guru answered: “Do not argue with a fool.” The person replied: “I disagree.” To which the wise Guru responded: “OK. You are right.”
Today is the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
We are ten days away from the beginning of the holy season of Lent.
Today’s readings have a dual theme: wisdom and righteousness.
Righteousness, or justice, when spoken of in the Bible, comes from the Greek work “δικαιοσύνη” – which according to the philosopher Plato was “the general virtue, which lies in the proper operation of all parts of the soul.”
In Christian theology, righteousness can be said to have five elements: (1) honoring God, (2) resulting in eternal life in Christ Jesus, (3) through the mercy of God, (4) by faith in Christ, (5) through God’s grace.
In this sense, everything depends on God and Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
To the second point, wisdom is, “the intellectual virtue concerning the first or highest causes of all things.”
In other words, wisdom is being smart enough to know that God is in charge.
Wisdom and justice are two of the four cardinal virtues. Cardinal, not because they have anything to do with birds or the color red, but from the Latin word, “cardo” meaning hinge.
The two we’ve just focused on today are wisdom and justice (or righteousness.)
The remaining two are courage and temperance – to do what is right in the face of obstacles (both external and internal); and to moderate the desire for pleasure (both physical and mental.)
And the three supernatural virtues are Faith, Hope, and Love – giving us seven total virtues to build up ourselves spiritually.
And so, in recognizing that God is in charge (wisdom), following Him unreservedly in Christ Jesus by the power of the Spirit (justice); persevering through difficulties (courage); and moderating our passions (temperance) – while leveraging the baptismal virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love … we can grow in spiritual strength and avoid the shortfalls of our human condition.
The point, of course, in our Lenten practices is to put God first – and not ourselves; and to persevere through, with, and in Christ Jesus – and set aside our weak and sinful flesh. Whatever we do for those 46 days – prayer, fasting, almsgiving – should be done for God’s sake and with our eyes fixed on Jesus.
As we approach this altar to receive the Sacred Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ – and as we move closer to the beginning of Lent 2020 – let us engage the graces we receive in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the altar today to engage the strengths provided us in the graces we receive.
So that we might follow Christ – who is our Way, our Truth, and our Life – in the power and strength of the Holy Spirit – and in all things, todo the Will of God … always and everywhere.