20th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B – 2009 Proverbs 9:1-6
Wisdom has built her house, she has set up her seven columns; she has dressed her meat, mixed her wine, yes, she has spread her table. She has sent out her maidens; she calls from the heights out over the city: “Let whoever is simple turn in here; to the one who lacks understanding, she says, ‘Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed! Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the way of understanding.’”
Brothers and sisters: Watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord. And do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.
Gospel Cycle Cycle B
Jesus said to the crowds: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
Wisdom is our focus today in this Sunday celebration of the Eucharist. It is so clear from the first reading, which comes from the Book of Proverbs. We have to reflect first on Wisdom and then think about how the teachings of Jesus in Chapter 6 of the Gospel of John are wisdom teachings.
The Book of Proverbs gives us teachings about how to live a practical life of faith—which for our ancestors in faith would have been called a life of wisdom. Today I am not sure that we consider the person wise who knows how to live the faith in difficult circumstances. The person is truly wise who knows how to live the life of faith. So much of modern culture thinks of wisdom as the way to outsmart everyone else and get more of the values of this world: money, power and sex.
A wise person is one who knows how to live his or her faith in every circumstance, in a way that is gracious and does not draw undue attention to oneself. Wisdom, as a gift of God, is always inviting us to live more and more completely this mystery of God’s presence in our midst.
In Chapter 6 of Saint John’s Gospel today, Jesus tells us about true wisdom: to know that He, Jesus, is the bread of life; to know that He, Jesus, is sent by the Father; to know that we must eat the flesh of Jesus and drink His blood; to know that if we feed on Jesus, we will have life eternal. These are all such strong statements!
Today wisdom invites us to live in her house. Today we are invited to know the wisdom taught by Jesus. Today we are invited to eat the body of Jesus and drink His blood—here, in this Eucharist. We are invited to believe in His own words: This is my body, this is my blood. We are invited to believe that there is everlasting life and that we can have that gift through faith.
The second reading today, from the Letter to the Ephesians once again, reminds us that we must not live in ignorance—this is the opposite of wisdom—but must seek the will of God in our lives! And we must give thanks—always.
O how wondrous is this mystery! O how great the gift of faith! Even greater is this God who loves us so much. Let us thank the Father for sending His Son and giving us the gift of the Holy Spirit. Praise to our God, one and three, forevermore. Amen.