Daily Reflection
February 26th, 2003
Tom Shanahan, S.J.
University Relations and the Theology Department
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
Sirach 4:11-19
Psalm 119:165, 168, 171, 172, 174, 175
Mark 9:38-40

The first reading in today’s liturgy speaks of Wisdom.  Wisdom is personified here as a person, a “she.”   I might need to ask myself about the wisdom of things and situations in my personal life.  We are faced also, with that same question as people of faith.

We might ask ourselves where is the wisdom in either going to war with Iraq or not?  It may be a moot point, as the United States seems to be propelled into the conflict at a rapid pace despite the caveats of the United Nations and many or our allies of former days.

Where might She (wisdom) be leading us, then?  I am not so sure I can answer that effectively, but I do know what appears to be wisdom to me and what is not.  Last Wednesday (February 12, 2003) Senator Robert Byrd stood up on the Senate floor and spoke to the assembled Senators.  My wisdom antennae perked up as I read his speech.

Senator Byrd decried the fact that the Senate is mute in the face of the crisis that is surrounding it.  The country is about to lose our time-honored friends in the European community over a new-fangled doctrine of preemptive strikes; a doctrine that is in the guise of self-defense, but stretches that legitimate goal way beyond itself to look more like offense than defense.

He beards his colleagues in the Senate to stop being silent and to engage in a dialogue and discussion of the ramifications of a war in the Middle East.  He fears that we are “sleepwalking through history.”  War needs not to be the first step, but the last step in the dialogue; he wonders whether we have backed ourselves into a corner and can see no way out except war.  To “save face” seems such a paltry thing when we consider the bravery of our young men and women in the armed forces going to a foreign land to fight a country that Byrd claims to be “over 50% children.”  What is the gain here?

Wisdom beckons us to acknowledge her ways or to suffer the consequences.  The book of Wisdom that we read from today boldly claims that Wisdom will bring happiness and reveal Her secrets to those who follow Her way.  But, for those who do not follow Wisdom, “she will abandon him and deliver him into the hands of despoilers.”

Lord, God, teach us wisdom.  Help us to be unafraid of dialogue.  Help us to discover You in your Wisdom.  Keep us on the path to freedom and goodness especially in confronting serious evil in persons and situations our world finds itself faced with.   Teach us wisdom and courage to face up to our adversaries as women and men of faith.

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