Last week’s reflection suggested the adoption of a specific approach to Lent so that by the time Ash Wednesday arrived we would be in a positive, pro-active, frame of mind....
We will continue our journey of discovering the message, meaning and challenges of the uncertainties, and unknown (often worrying and troubling) challenges of our lives. At the same time we accept that we need the food and drink of Eucharist in order to progress much further. We should not look to mere survival but strive to share eternal life in the present.
Look at the powerful challenge provided by TODAY’S OLD TESTAMENT EXTRACT [PROVERBS 9: 1 – 6] – “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed … and walk in the way of insight.” It may be useful at this point to recall what Saint Paul wrote the Sunday before last when he referred to the need for us to walk in the way of Christ, the way we have learnt, and not as the Gentiles walk.
But this week we move beyond hearing, learning and understanding and progress to walking with the insight of WISDOM. However, wisdom does not come to those who are in a hurry and want instant clarity and solutions. Wisdom has to be built slowly over a period of time as we learn by experience – especially the learning experience of our own personal faults and failures, our strengths and successes.
The reading from Proverbs adds a valuable element when it invites “whoever is simple, let him turn in here.” We have to stop hurrying ourselves, stop and turn in here. Never confuse the simple with the simplistic. Here, Saint Paul in OUR NEW TESTAMENT READING [ EPHESIANS 5: 15 – 20] provides sage counsel: “look carefully …. how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time.” The wisdom that grows from the simple approach involves making the most of the present time by turning in ….. away from rushed pressure which seizes the simplistic approach to ‘paper-over’ and thinking that the crack has been fixed. The crack is still there and will eventually tear the paper covering. TODAY’S PSALM [34 or 33] offers the same advice as Saint Paul: “seek after peace, and pursue it.” Wisdom and insight (which bring real peace) has to be pursued and sought after. It cannot be achieved if we do not stop and turn in. It is in the stopping and turning in that we begin to provide ourselves with the ability to discern what really needs to be done.
Now we must recognise the vital connection between the invitation in the Book of Proverbs and Jesus’ words in TODAY’S GOSPEL [JOHN6: 51 – 58]. Proverbs invites us to “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed … and walk in the way of insight.” The Gospel states: “he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” We have to turn in at and for Eucharist. It is strongly suggested that we read again the closing paragraph of last week’s reflection. Wisdom and insight are the basic means of having real life within us – INSIDE US. The Lord continues in our Gospel by emphasising that “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” It is the life and living which becomes a habit.
We also notice that our Gospel informs us that the Jews were still disputing ‘the how’ of this reality. I often wonder if I myself do not, every now and again, dispute it?! Am I sometimes in too much of a hurry and so fail to properly turn into it? Do I sometimes seek to merely paper over the cracks and not make the time and effort to achieve an element of wisdom which will reveal my need for some personal, basic renovations?