Wisdom’s Order (Proverbs 8:22-31)

The disorder of our lives keeps us from peace. We race from one event to the next. Emergencies keep us from getting done the work we had planned to do. Our homes need a little more straightening. Our children need a little more attention. Our patience needs a little less demand. It can be hard to appreciate the order of the world around us — the rhythm of the sun as it gently runs its course, the miracle of plants as they open with new life, the comfort of the wind as it cools and refreshes. The cycle of life and death, although it brings chaos to individual lives, is well ordered, and the world passes methodically from generation to generation. That order is the wisdom of God. The wisdom of God speaks in the Book of Proverbs: “When the Lord established the heavens I was there.” God’s wisdom predates creation. God’s wisdom assisted in creation. Creation works because of God’s wisdom. God’s wisdom continues to work around the world and within us. The disorder of our lives may keep us from sensing the wisdom of God, but wisdom is there. God created us in wisdom, ordered our bodies and gave us health, implanted within us a desire to know our creator, and nurtures us in our hunger for charity. Even when we are busy, even when we are unaware, God’s wisdom is at work, keeping the pace of our hectic lives.

Can Do (Romans 5:1–5)

A lot of us try to hide our afflictions. If we hurt, we don’t want people to know. If we’re sick, we don’t want word to get out. We don’t want to attract attention. We prefer to keep the illusion that we are well, and others need not be concerned. How strange it is, then, to hear Paul say of Christians, “We even boast of our afflictions.” To Paul, his afflictions merely went to show how strong the power of God was. God could work through human afflictions in the miraculous way that someone in a wheelchair can still win a race, one who cannot see can still cook dinner, someone with hearing loss can still write music, and someone terminally ill can still teach and inspire. Sometimes the affliction itself becomes a means of showing how mighty one’s inner strength really is. In Paul’s case, the afflictions were obstacles placed in the way of his preaching the Gospel. The Word of God was still able to spread in spite of these setbacks. Consequently, Paul says, “affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint.” Paul is never disappointed because the Holy Trinity takes care of him. He has peace with God through Jesus Christ, and the love of God has been poured out into him through the Holy Spirit. No wonder he could boast of afflictions.

Reflections: Lectionary Bulletin Inserts: Reflections on the First and Second Readings, Year C © 2019 Archdiocese of Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications. All rights reserved. Written by Paul Turner. Lectionary for Mass © 2001, CCD.