A Reflection by Sister Natalie DeLuca, MHSH
In last Sunday’s second reading—1 Cor. 3:16-23—Paul seems to demand an answer from his listeners: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” He continues and underscores his concern for the lack of awareness rampant in this foolish world: “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God, for it is written: God catches the wise in their own ruses.”
Paul’s concern directly reveals the awesome revelation of Jesus: The Kingdom of God is within us. Reflecting on this theme, one begins to notice the indifference and frequent disregard for life—for persons, for humanity in general. How would you answer Paul’s question? How do we understand the message of the “reign of Christ’s Kingdom?”
The wisdom behind Christ’s announcement of His Kingdom is that it is here, in each of us, but not fulfilled, not completed. There is a life of respect to be lived; of love to be served; of dignity to be given to ourselves and to others.
In the Jewish Scripture, we come to know a wise king, who the Lord loved and wanted to bless in a special way. He invited Solomon to request a gift. Now, Solomon could have asked for all kinds of worldly-wise gifts. Instead, he said, “Give me an understanding heart.”
In the Gospels, Jesus explains an understanding heart: “You have heard it said that you should love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father….”
These words are not easy, but they are very clear. As we approach the dawn of Ash Wednesday 2014, what gift of grace is your request? How would you answer Paul’s question?
Do we acknowledge that the reign of God must begin with understanding in our own heart?
As the days of Lent stretch out before us, let the wisdom of God open our hearts and receive an understanding heart as His gift.