Daily Readings Reflection for 12/11/09

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Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: Lectionary # 186. Friday of 2nd week of Advent. Isaiah
48:17-19. Psalm 1.1-2.3.4.6. Matthew 11:16-19.

Soon we will be singing or chanting the “O Antiphons” in the week before
Christmas. Among them is the O Antiphon of Wisdom, God’s Wisdom. From the
Wisdom literature we know that Wisdom is a source of creation and that it
“orders all things rightly.” Jesus is God’s Wisdom personified and
experienced by us through the words of his teaching and preaching. The
Evangelists have caught this spirit of wisdom and have faithfully handed it
down to us just as the inspired writers of the Psalms and the Wisdom
literature handed that down in the Scriptures of the Israelites. Jesus was
born into that spirit and by that Spirit. He is Wisdom and his mother Mary
is depicted in the Catholic tradition as the “Seat of Wisdom” with Jesus
sitting on her lap in many of the icons and paintings with which we are
familiar.

Today’s Gospel has Jesus speaking words of wisdom and using a fascinating
comparison with children playing a tune for dancing and then one for
mourning; the other children refuse to listen to the music and to act out
in dance or in a dirge the playful game of the first children to appear in
the comparison. So Jesus and John the Baptist were not listened to nor did
people dance with Jesus nor fast with John the Baptist. Jesus knew how to
use his Aramaic language with such colorful examples. It showed his wit,
his intelligence, and his wisdom. Nor were the evangelists simple-minded
copyists. They too were very creative and wise in what they handed down to
us in the framework of God’s plan of salvation history–or in their
wholesome and positive theologies and Christologies.

Many ignore these words of wisdom and go by the commercial maxims and
secularistic presentations of what is best for us. Jesus, however, makes
us think by using wisdom in his parables, his paradoxes, and his
comparisons. We too are wise when we take the time to ponder and reflect
on this human-divine wisdom of the Son of God. Jesus urges us to be
realistic…he says,”time will prove where wisdom lies.”

In the Byzantine liturgy before the Gospel is read, the deacon processes
with the beautiful and ornate book of the Gospels and proclaims several
times, “Be Attentive…Wisdom!” We are thus prepared to listen attentively
to God’s words of wisdom while the deacon reads them to us.

Advent is an ideal season for this theme of wisdom. Even our psalms are
often chosen from those in the genre of wisdom as we have today in the very
first Psalm which is a wisdom psalm. It encourages us to choose well and
get things in their proper order. Among the beginning verses we are given
this thought: “delight in the law (the Torah, the instruction of God) of
the Lord and ponder it over, mull it over, in your mind and heart and
continue your meditation throughout the day and night.” We enter this
season of wisdom by praying the psalm and by attentively and devoutly
listen to Jesus, God’s Word of Wisdom. Amen.

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