10 Nov, Thursday of Week 32
Wis 7:22ff. Wisdom is a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty and reaches from end to end mightily and governs all things well.
Lk 17:20ff. The reign of God is not “here” nor “there” but already in your midst. Before coming, the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected.
At the centre of life lies the wisdom of God or according to Luke’s gospel, the reign of God. This wisdom “penetrates and pervades all things.” We in turn are called to unite and integrate, and to form such a bond of union that we can reach out to find each man and woman our brother and our sister, our source of “joy and comfort.”
In passing we should note that the New Testament does not directly take issue with slavery, but indirectly supplies the data that eventually made church and society realize how grossly injust it was. For instance, Jesus was equal to God yet willing “to empty himself and take the form of a slave” (Phil 2:7). Furthermore, “All of you who have been baptized into Christ are clothed in him. So among you there is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female. All are one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:27-28). It is the inner bond of faith and love, of respect and honour that heals the social injustices of slavery and enables each us to integrate our proper bonds with others.
The Book of Wisdom sees this integration as coming through wisdom, this virtue that is God’s supreme gift. According to the Latin Vulgate translation, wisdom “reaches from end to end mightily and governs all things sweetly.” Such is the way of divine wisdom: mightily and sweetly. The bond which unites is as mighty as God is strong and loyal, as sweet as God is compassionate and good – always and everywhere.
But we become impatient when God’s wisdom eludes us and like the questioners, we press Jesus for an answer, “When will the reign of God come?” In replying, Jesus immediately puts aside one part of the question, when. The kingdom of God is not to be identified with a point of time; this is an important warning to those who try to predict the end of the world on such and such a day. Jesus also refuses to locate the reign of God “here” or “there.” There is no particular, all-holy place where the kingdom must appear, as though one country is better than another. Jesus’ final answer is baffling but also consoling: The reign of God is already in your midst.
Intimately, personally rooted within us, the kingdom of God has already begun, in the presence of Jesus who dwells within us. Here we already taste the sweetness of eternal life. Here we imbibe the strength to be strong and loyal, for God’s wisdom lives in our heart. We must remain conscious of the sweetness of God’s ways, even in the midst of suffering.
First Reading: Wisdom 7:22-8:1
There is in her a spirit that is intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear, unpolluted, distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen, irresistible, beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, free from anxiety, all-powerful, overseeing all, and penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent, pure, and altogether subtle.
Wisdom is more mobile than any motion; because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things. For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her. She is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness.
Although she is but one, she can do all things, and while remaining in herself, she renews all things; in every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets; for God loves nothing so much as the person who lives with wisdom.
She is more beautiful than the sun, and excels every constellation of the stars. Compared with the light she is found to be superior, for it is succeeded by the night, but against wisdom evil does not prevail. She reaches mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and she orders all things well.
Gospel: Luke 17:20-25
Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.”
Then he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. They will say to you, ‘Look there!’ or ‘Look here!’ Do not go, do not set off in pursuit. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must endure much suffering and be rejected by this generation.