Reflection for the Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Luke 14:23-33; Wisdom 9:13-18; Philemon 9:10, 12-17
September 4, 2022

By: The Rev. Fr. Ryan Bores

Who can fathom the wisdom of God? Who may ever know His plans or desires? Man's deeper sense of existence is a quest for God who is pure wisdom. The first reading tells us that we humans (finite beings) are incapable of attaining God's wisdom. Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and proper disposition of the human soul, despite its finiteness, he is able to partly comprehend God's wisdom. King Solomon is, in this particular book, known as the King-Seeker of Wisdom as he asks for it, from Yahweh, instead of fame, wealth and the heads of his adversaries (2 Chronicles 1:11-12). He addresses the Israelites for the edification of wisdom and faith in their times of oppression and suffering from the hands of the apostates.

As teachings, beliefs, and encounters with God pass on through times and generations, St. Paul has glimpses of and receives God's wisdom through his conversion and preaching. His letter to Philemon asking for favor to accept Onesimus, once again for the sake of God's service, is a manifestation of God's wisdom through sacrifice for one another. True service is fueled with obedience, humility, and sacrifice (true service).

All these virtues were lived out by Jesus our Lord when He became man, lived among us, and received His paschal mystery. Christ is the true image of service as He said, "… just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life for the ransom of many (Mt. 20:28). Every human received and benefited from the service of Jesus by giving Himself wholeheartedly and will continue to give His service of grace to all of us. As believers of Jesus, we are invited to do the same. Our apostolic works mirror Christ's service. However, for it to be truly the same, it must be fueled also with the virtue of obedience, humility, and sacrifice. By doing so, we are able to understand the meaning of our mission. And to know the mission of our service is to attain God's wisdom.

Our Gospel text today stresses that by possessing wisdom through service, we will fully understand our mission and see its value and worth; we will be able to endure it patiently which is synonymous with living out the cross-with-Christ, not the crossless-Christ; and the Christ-with-cross and not the Christless cross. There is a certain wisdom in obedience, humility, and service. We must be like Onesimus (the useful one) recommended by Paul for the service not just to Philemon but to Christ Himself. We too are well recommended and entrusted by Christ to be at the service in His vineyard. In the end, as St. Paul says in his second letter to Timothy 4:7, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith".



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