The webpage of the Youth Ministry of the Irish Province of Augustinians

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B - 19th August 2012

It seems that very often we equate wisdom with knowledge but, actually, the two are quite distinct.  Knowledge is about information, memory and experience.  Wisdom has much more to do with meaning, understanding and being able to apply knowledge to differing circumstances and events.  The writer of the Book of Proverbs reminds us that wisdom also has a lot to do with being prepared.

Preparedness is the stance of the person who doesn't need to know what is coming around the corner but who is confident that, come what may, things will be absolutely fine.  This is the same type of preparedness that the gospels speak of when reference is made to the Kingdom of God coming like a thief in the night or at the hour we least expect.  For those who are prepared it makes no difference whatever.  The only way to be prepared in this way is to shape your life in such a way that you are always doing the "right thing".

Of course, "the right thing" is not always easy to identify and is certainly not easy to be consistent in doing it.  Today's gospel reading might be helpful in this context.  It places right before our eyes the concept of life, specifically the life of Jesus and how we participate in that life.  We are not just imitators of Jesus, we are other Christs.  We incarnate his message for a world that is still struggling.  Eating the body and blood of Christ is what guarantees us that we have that life within us; it is also what strengthens us for the journey.  Doing the right thing is about allowing this life of Jesus to shine for others and through us.  Doing the right thing is not really about attending to the detail of every action we perform even though many of us were taught that this was the case.  I think that the adult attitude to faith and to discipleship is about orientation, trends and direction.

In what direction is my life heading?  If I am trying to follow Jesus, how can I be sure that I am headed in the right direction?  In the past we were encouraged to focus on our faults and failures, no matter how small they may have seemed.  I think this focus was probably unhelpful for many people.  Jesus calls us to fullness of life - not to constant self-criticism.  By keeping our focus on Jesus and how we want to draw closer to him it becomes more important to identify the overall way in which we are heading rather than to focus on the past.  As Christian believers we are oriented towards the future - a future in which we shall ultimately come to rest in God.

Certainly, an examination of conscience is a worthwhile exercise.  To look at our lives and to identify why we are not advancing as we would is to take an inventory of how we are living.  We take the inventory so that we can clear out our stock room of the things that are holding us back.  Our focus, however, should always be on Jesus, reminding ourselves that we carry within us his life which is the gift we are sent to share with those around us.


Article posted on 17th of August 2012

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