Wellspring of Scripture


Year B: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading: Proverbs 9: 1-6

In St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (chapter 1), he refers to the foolishness of the cross and, later, to the fact that God often chooses what is foolish and weak in the eyes of the world.


This preference for what seems foolish and powerless has always been a stumbling block for those who would prefer God to be powerful - a God who supports the idea of the “survival of the fittest” - a concept which was around long before Darwin!


This passage from Wisdom shows how the Wisdom of God lays a banquet and invites the ignorant and foolish to come to her table. There, when they have eaten her bread and drunk her wine, they will leave folly behind and will gain wisdom and perception.


The Reading and the Gospel both make God a host inviting people to eat and drink what he has provided for them. However, there is a crucial difference between this food and that given to the Israelites in the desert - and the bread and fish shared with the five thousand. These meals had definitely kept people alive - but, as evidence later in the Book of Exodus and in the Gospel we are reading at the moment suggests, it did not necessarily bring wisdom. The Israelites were still full of doubt and complaint - and many of the Jews listening to Jesus could not grasp the meaning of what they had witnessed.

People with “simple faith” are sometimes patronised - their faith is not in doubt but can, sometimes, be seen as naive. However, such people often have a deeper grasp of the essentials of faith than those who patronise them. They may seem foolish in the eyes of the world - especially in contemporary Western society - but often have a deep wisdom which is largely untroubled by those who speak against them. They do not need someone to explain how bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus - they just know that it does - and rest secure in that knowledge.


What does it mean for me?

Waterlily Do you know people of "simple faith"? Are you such a person? Or, how can you cultivate a simplicity of faith - not blind but full of trust?

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