Bishop Thomas Gumbletonby Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

To begin our reflection on the lessons today, I think it’s important to start with the very first lesson. But in order to understand fully these words from the Book of Wisdom, a book attributed to Solomon, the one among the ancient Jews who was especially noted for his wisdom, we must know that these words were written when many of the chosen people had left their homeland and had emigrated to Egypt, to Alexandria.

In Alexandria, there were very high-level schools where people claimed to have extraordinary access to wisdom. It was the Greek philosophers whom they studied and whom they thought of as truly wise. They were beginning to lose touch with their own covenant and the words of God revealed through the centuries. At this point, Solomon gives us the words that we heard in our first lesson, where he is trying to impress upon us that God’s wisdom far surpasses any human wisdom.

No matter how deep it seems to be or how great it seems to be, how admired it is, God’s wisdom goes far beyond human wisdom. Solomon says, “I prayed and understanding was given to me. I asked earnestly, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.” Now he shows how important that is. “I prefer wisdom to scepters and thrones. I consider wealth as nothing compared with wisdom. I prefer wisdom to any jewel of unlimited value, since gold beside wisdom is nothing but a few grains of sand, and silver is nothing but mud. I loved her more than wealth. I even preferred her to light and beauty because radiance and wisdom, God’s wisdom, never dies.”

Solomon was trying to impress upon his own people at the time, and upon us today, that we have to search out God’s wisdom. Where will we find it? We find it ultimately in God’s word. There is a marvelous in the passage in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah where the prophet is speaking about God’s word. He says, “As the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return until they have watered the earth, making it yield seed for the sower and food for others to eat, so is my word that goes out of my mouth.”…

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