1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13
"But wisdom is vindicated by all her children."
When I first reflected on the readings for today’s Mass, I was quickly drawn into the beauty and poetry of St. Paul’s description of a more excellent way. There is power in its message and imagery. Love is what makes all of the virtues virtuous. Yet, I read on and was invited to enter more deeply into the last line of today’s Gospel: "But wisdom is vindicated by all her children."
Wisdom is one of those beautiful attributes of God that is woven throughout the entire Scriptures. When reflected on and celebrated in the Old Testament, wisdom is portrayed as a Woman. She was with God when the world was created. The LORD by wisdom founded the earth, established the heavens by understanding" (Proverbs, 3:19) and she is sought after by Solomon and every servant of God. In the book of Job, there is a long passage on where Wisdom comes from. It is a gift from God, for Wisdom was with God from the very beginning. (Job 28-29)
So, when Jesus said "Wisdom is vindicated by all her children," I felt that it was an invitation to reflect and meditate more profoundly on the children of Mother Wisdom.
This invitation to be children of wisdom came about because some disciples of John the Baptist wanted to know if Jesus "is the one who is to come or should we look for another." (Luke 7:19) Jesus responds by pointing out his recent ministries: teaching the Good News of the Reign of God to the poor, healing the blind and lame, bringing life to those who were dead. (Luke 7:22) Basically, Jesus is saying: "By their fruits, you shall know them." (Matt. 7:16) I also believe that Jesus is saying to us: if we let Wisdom become our mother and teacher, she will lead us to Himself and to God.
The list of all of Wisdom’s children is long. I begin with Insight. Wisdom gives us insight into the understanding and appreciation of complex and complicated realities. There is Prudence, which asks us not to jump to quick conclusions. Integrity is another child. Integrity teaches us to be honest and faithful to the truth and our core values, even when these embarrass us. Another child of Wisdom is Tranquility. Wisdom does not sire rage and violence and free-floating anxieties. Wisdom wants us to be peaceful, open-minded and open-hearted so that we can act with conviction, courage and confidence.
Wisdom has many other children that are too numerous to name. All of Wisdom’s children will vindicate what Jesus says and does. These readings invited me to move deeper into the mystery of God and Wisdom.
Furthermore the first reading should remind us of what St. Paul says in Colossians, 3:14: "Above all, put on love-the perfect bond of unity." St. Paul so eloquently says this in the first reading: "And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing!" So, let Wisdom be our guide and take a more excellent way.
Fr. Clemente Barron, C.P. is a member of the General Council of the Passionist Congregation and is stationed in Rome.