20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
August 16, 2015
Our first reading comes from the Book of Proverbs where “wisdom” is personified as “Lady Wisdom.” Today we hear Lady Wisdom inviting in the simple and those who lack understanding to come and eat at her table to forsake foolishness that they might live.
The food and wine she offers is wisdom. What is wisdom? Some might say the highly educated with doctorate degrees are the wise. But does that make them wise?
Think of the gifts of the Holy Spirit; knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. If wisdom is based on how much we know, then why are knowledge and wisdom separate gifts of the Spirit?
I think of knowledge as the things that we know that can be explicitly stated. We can know historical dates and the Commandments but do we understand the significance of them? And in wisdom we come to appreciate what they really mean for us.
It is good to gain all the knowledge we can. For our faith this means reading the Bible and studying the teachings of our Church. We also need to pray for the wisdom and understanding to appreciate what they mean for us.
Let’s take a look at Jesus’ words that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood.
We know that Jesus said these words because they are written down in the Bible. We see the Bible as the inspired Word of God and so we trust in what it says.
So we know these words but do we understand what it means to say the bread and wine are transubstantiated into the Body and Blood of Jesus?
We do not know how the change happens except that it is by the Holy Spirit. In faith we receive the wisdom to accept the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Does our response show our belief that the Eucharist really is Jesus?
For instance, our kneeling during the consecration shows our reverence that something profound is happening.
The way we receive Communion must speak of our belief in the Real Presence. When we come forth for Communion do we do it in a free for all? No, we come forth in reverent order.
Are we chewing gum or have we fasted recognizing the sacredness of what we are about to receive?
Do we come with our bodies limp like we don’t care or do we come forth standing reverent, bowing as we approach for Communion? Do we want to pick the host out of the ciborium like a snack or do we make a throne in our hands, placing one hand over the other like St. Cyril described in the fourth century?
Do we come each week recognizing our need for the Eucharist?
When we leave church, do we live our lives like we believe in what Jesus has given us?