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Sunday:       25 th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Date:         September 20, 2009
Year:         B
The readings: [Wis. 2:12, 17-20; Jas. 3:16-4:3; Mk. 9:30-7]
The message:  The wisdom from above is first pure.
Total words:  1521

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** The readings follow the sermon.

Good morning my brothers and sisters in Christ. How beautiful it is to see a gathering of the children of the Lord who have come to worship the Father in spirit and truth in fulfillment of the promise of Our Lord Jesus Christ. [Jn. 4:23]

Today's three Readings have one common denominator. They all speak of wisdom.

During the First Reading, [Wis. 2:12, 17-20] we heard prophetic words of the evil plans of the godless ones. They waited for the righteous one, the Lord Jesus, to test Him with insults and torture to find out how gentle He was. Because He made their lives inconvenient, opposed their actions and reproached them of their sins against the law, they planned to condemn Him to a shameful death. Mocking the words of Jesus, they asked, did He not say that He would be protected? As we know through the Gospels, these prophetic words have all come to pass.

While the godless ones applied human wisdom in the planning of their evil deeds, they failed to realize that human knowledge and understanding cannot compete against the Wisdom of God. For "The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." [1 Cor. 3:19] "God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength." [1 Cor. 1:25] "The wisdom from above is first pure, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy." [Jas. 3:17]

Through the limited ability of their worldly thinking, the godless ones planned the destruction of the Son of God, believing that His physical death would be the end of Him. Had they applied spiritual thinking and studied the Scriptures, they would have perceived that the Lord Jesus was the promised Messiah. The body of the eternal Son could not be left to rot, nor could He be shamed. For indeed, He was protected by God the Father who raised Him from the dead. As it was written, the Lord Jesus came and He judged the hypocrites.

What is wisdom? How does one obtain wisdom? It depends on what wisdom we are talking about. If one seeks human wisdom, he needs knowledge and understanding. By studying, one gains knowledge. Through the gain of knowledge, one reaches understanding. With understanding, one achieves human wisdom. For it is said, "Wisdom is at home in the mind of one who has understanding, but it is not known in the heart of fools." [Prov. 14:33] "A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for one who understands." [Prov. 14:6]

He who has a lazy mind, he does not seek knowledge. Without knowledge, he has no understanding. Without understanding, he is without human wisdom. Consequently, it can be said that human wisdom is learned.

But what about spiritual wisdom? Does one have to attend school to learn it? On that subject, St. Paul says, "To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit." [1 Cor. 12:8]

Spiritual wisdom is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual knowledge and understanding cannot be obtained unless one is enlightened by the Holy Spirit by the grace of God the Father. "For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright." [Prov. 2:6-7]

Spiritual wisdom is beyond the reach of the godless, the foolish and the proud. For it is said that "When pride comes, then comes disgrace; but wisdom is with the humble." [Prov. 11:2] "Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky..." [Dan. 12:3]

As we heard during the Second reading, [Jas. 3:16-4:3] "Where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. Those conflicts and disputes, where do they come from? Do they come from above? Are they the fruit of spiritual wisdom? Or, as pride, self-importance and fame, are they all the fruit of human wisdom?

Human wisdom leads to sin. You want something and do not have it, so you commit murder. You covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts.

Spiritual wisdom leads to holiness. It is pure and from above. It is peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality of hypocrisy.

During today's Gospel Reading, [Mk. 9:30-7] we heard that when Jesus was teaching the disciples, He told them that the Son of Man was to be betrayed into human hands, that they would kill Him and three days later, He would rise again. The disciples did not understand what Jesus was talking about. Why?

Because their human wisdom did not have the necessary knowledge and understanding to perceive what Jesus was talking about. Nor did their spiritual wisdom have the knowledge and understanding to perceive the death and resurrection of the Lord that was quickly approaching. These words had to be spoken so they would be understood at a later time when Jesus would say, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you - that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled." Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, "Thus it is written that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day..." [Lk. 24:44-6]

Reviewing the behaviour of the disciples on the way to Capernaum, once more, we perceive the fruits of human wisdom. Arguing with one another as to who was the greatest, they were fuelling the sins of fame, favourism, jealousy and pride.

Based on what St. Paul was teaching to the early Church Christians and the aforementioned behavior of the disciples, we come to the realization that the human nature is weak. How easy it is for us to fall back to our worldly minds to apply human wisdom in our daily thoughts, words and actions. But this should not be so! We must resist the human wisdom that opposes the spiritual wisdom that is pure and from above. At all costs, we must obtain this Wisdom of God that is holy. If any of us are lacking such wisdom, we must ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given to us. [Jas. 1:5]

Why does God bless His children with pure wisdom? In a few words, it is to bless us with Divine love and grace, the Lord God wanting to share His eternal glory with those who ask for the spiritual gift of wisdom.

In greater details, the Divine Wisdom of God serves the purpose of:

1) Revealing the Divine characteristics of God to His children;

2) Revealing the Divine Plan of redemption to mankind;

3) Revealing His Divine Will to each and everyone of us;

4) Revealing His Divine mysteries to each and everyone of us;

5) Revealing His only Begotten Son Jesus Christ to the world;

6) Revealing the function of the Holy Catholic Church through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit;

7) Revealing the manifestations of the indwelling Holy Spirit;

8) To lead us towards Divine virtues;

9) To bless us with Divine perception of the Word of God that is found in the Scriptures, such being withheld from those who lack spiritual wisdom;

10) To reveal to us the fruits of Wisdom;

11) To sanctify us through the undeserved righteousness that we freely receive through Jesus Christ; and,

12) To reveal the end result that awaits those who scorn Divine Wisdom.

As can be perceived from this list, there are many benefits to be gained through Divine Wisdom. The gift of wisdom provides us with an understanding of the Word of knowledge. It helps us to perceive God's guidance. It unravels the Holy Bible parables that hold the key to righteous living, eternal life and salvation.

By the grace of the heavenly Father, we are able to perceives spiritual knowledge. Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the Words of Our Lord Jesus unravel themselves in our spiritual minds. The gift of wisdom is necessary for us to grow in the love of Jesus. Offered free to all of us; we simply need to ask God for it!

This week, let us call upon the Lord Almighty, asking Him with a sincerity of heart for the gift of Wisdom. God is always pleased to bless His children with His abounding treasures when they seek Him out so that they may glorify Him in all things. Consequently, through the gift of wisdom, we will be blessed with a new perception of things, receiving the Divine light that the soul absolutely needs to perceive spiritual things with a spiritual mind.

* * * * * * * * * *

The readings...

[The readings were taken from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (C) 1989 Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the United States of America.]

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First Reading...

"The godless say, 'Let us lie in wait for the righteous one, who makes life inconvenient to us and opposes our actions: who reproaches us for sins against the law, and accuses us of sins against our training.

Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life; for if the righteous one is God's son, God will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries.

Let us test him with insult and torture, so that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance. Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for, according to what he says, he will be protected.'" [Wis. 2:12, 17-20]

* * * * * * * * * *

Second Reading...

"Where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.

Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts.

You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures." [Jas. 3;16-4:3]

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Gospel Reading...

"After leaving the mountain Jesus and his disciples went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, 'The Son of Man is to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.' But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.

Then they came to Capernaum: and when he was in the house Jesus asked them, 'What were you arguing about on the way?' But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest.

Jesus sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, 'Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.'

Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 'Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.'" [Mk. 9:30-7]

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