The first reading is from the Book of Sirach, a book which is found only in Catholic bibles. The description from the New American bible puts it into perspective:
This particular passage is so eloquent about searching for wisdom. I especially appreciated the feminizing of wisdom and its elusiveness if considered without the divine. Knowledge and wisdom are so different, yet sometimes in our modern world and, judging elders in the gospel, probably in the past as well, we confuse them. We think if we stuff our heads with enough information, we will be wise. The aggregation of many facts will somehow allow us to make the right decisions. Clearly, the history of man since Adam shows us this doesn’t work. We need to use that knowledge in the light of wisdom – something we seek from God and those enlightened. In many ways, a Ying and Yang, a blend of masculine (knowledge) and feminine (wisdom) to have the balance needed. The passage flows so beautifully verbalizing an enticing search with great rewards for those who are willing to take this journey and open the gate.
The responsorial psalm is also a guide to living our lives and following the right path. “Precepts” are directions or guidelines for actions or conduct – more “how to’s” for us, similar to those in Sirach, to guide our lives toward wisdom. Sometimes the simplicity of it all baffles me as I attempt to make it more complex and muddled. We have the “rules” – Jesus makes them even clearer in the New Testament. Here’s how to live – do these things and you will find joy. But, instead, I struggle. I try to impose my rules or my interpretation of “The Rules”. That path is not always so joyous – the twists and turns bring many challenges. That is not to say that following the straight and narrow is an easy way with the various external pulls. A basic premise is trust and keeping that as true North. . . . The decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple. . . .
The wisdom we so desperately seek, is so evident in the divine. Jesus approaches each situation with a calm, simplistic way. He is able to ask one or two questions and immediately the others have to re-think their stand. As the elders try to trap Him by demanding his source of authority, Jesus turns the table with his question requiring them to address the ultimate authority. The elders are torn between heavenly and earthly origins. It is the struggle between masters that we all experience daily. If we truly ascribe to Heaven’s authority then how can we not believe and behave accordingly?
I will continue to pray for Wisdom as I do countless times each day. So many of the decisions required of me will fall short with only knowledge regardless of the depth of that knowledge, wisdom is needed to provide the context and guide the application. I know I will experience “joy in my heart” when I direct my soul to seeking Wisdom and to listening to the song it sings.
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