Septuagesima 2009

It’s been a busy year.  I’m going to give this blog another try, at least posting homily notes from time to time.   From last Sunday:

Today we enter Pre-Lent, a little season of 3 Sundays devoted to the Holy Spirit, whose presence prepares us to undertake transformational Lenten discipline.   This week’s readings particularly speak of the Spirit under the aspect of wisdom.  In the gospel from Matthew 25, the illuminating flame of wisdom (or at least the oil that fuels it) is something which must be bought.  When the foolish virgins ask the wise ones to share their oil, the wise tell them to go and buy for themselves.   We have to ask carefully what this means.  All too often, religion and spirituality are treated as commodities in the marketplace of our world.  We are quick to purchase the latest book or DVD, and to sign up for the newest weekend workshop with the popular speaker.  We fill ourselves with cool theories and “spiritual” ideas.  We pay our ministers, our theologians, and other professionals to be religious for us.  We may have full bookshelves, impressive resumes, and a staff to boot, but does such heavy knowledge lead us to the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God and the image of his goodness (Wisdom 7)?

 How then do we buy this oil of wisdom, which illumines our souls, lighting the world around us as we await the coming Bridegroom?   Perhaps it is obtained precisely by trading away all our self-important cleverness which bars the way of the One who in all ages enters into holy souls, making them friends of God and prophets.  God’s wisdom is most subtle, and cannot be bound.  The Spirit of Wisdom does not bow to our plans or notions, cannot be controlled, and teaches us by taking us into places we never expected.  God needs friends who are willing to take risks, to be a little crazy, to love life, letting themselves be filled with joy.   No one else can do this for us.  The community of the wise, shining like brilliant stars in the night, is composed of those who have paid the price of wisdom, who have removed their own shackles and accepted their freedom in the Spirit.  Radiant with light and joy, they stand full of the power of life, watching, waiting, shining, until the dawning of the perfect Day.

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