Grace to you!
We continue our reflection on I Corinthians. Yesterday, we reflected on the quality of wisdom as to what makes us put things in their right perspective and act accordingly. Today, we extend the reflection further.
There is a saying that the secret to orderliness in home care is: “A place for everything. Everything in its place.” Actually, mom taught me this.
Everything in the house has its right place. Whether it is the coffee maker or the cups, the plate and the trashcan, the bed and the dresser, the groceries and the milk in the refrigerator. It would be untidy and uninviting to keep one’s shoes at the entrance to the living room, just like it would be out of order to keep one’s silverware and pots in the closet. If everything is in its place, we have an orderly house.
You may have read that story in the First Book of Kings,chapter ten, where the Queen of Sheba came to visit king Solomon. She observed how everything under Solomon’s leadership was in its place—the organization of the personnel, the home, the temple, etc. She considered it a proof of the wisdom of Solomon (See 1 Kings 10).
Granted some people may not care so much about organizing their home. Granted hoarders have a different way of keeping their things and hanging onto everything, including things that were out of place and, therefore, out of order. However, we see such homes and consider them out of order because there are certain expectations they do not meet, at least, in our opinion.
The above imagery may be used to appreciate Saint Paul’s teaching regarding wisdom in 1 Cor 3. He gave the teaching as a response to the rivalry and division in the Corinthian church. He says that worldly wisdom is foolishness before God (1 Cor 3:19).
For him, worldly wisdom misplaces priority, the right hierarchy of values and order of things. Such was the case he was dealing with in Corinth where some people do not see that he (Paul) and the other evangelizers are mere messengers of God. The result was division in the church based on who is more gifted than the other or who in the community has more followers than the other. Seeing things in this worldly perspective misses the point that we all belong to Christ and are of equal worth. “Whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours; and you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor 3:22-23).
Everything in its place. Understanding what is first and what comes after it, as well as how one thing fits in the entire structure and relates to the other, is the practice of wisdom.
For instance, if I understand the priority of the value of life over my car, it would be wise to consider my life as deserving first place over my beautiful car. If we also understand the right order of things, it would be equally wise to place things and reality where they belong in that hierarchy.
St. Thomas Aquinas in his classic profound and deep way of saying things provides us an insight into the nature of wisdom. He relates his thoughts to 1 Corinthians 3:10ff also. Borrowing an idea from Aristotle’s Metaphysic(1.2) he says; “It belongs to wisdom to consider the highest cause. By means of that cause, we are able to form a most certain judgment about other causes, and according thereto all things should be set in order” (see Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, II-II q.45 a.1, Fathers of the English Dominican Province, Trans., London: Burns Oates & Washbourne).
I pray that we learn from Christ, the true wisdom of God, and know what is first and the priority of things in life and act accordingly. Amen
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Thursday Week 22 Ordinary Time: 1 Cor 3:18-23; Lk 5:1-11]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.