Grace to you!
Elders occupy a very vital place in many African communities. There is a saying that “Wisdom is in gray hair.”
Thus, unlike in many Western countries where people do not want to be described as “older,” the African prides himself or herself as being an elder. People fight over who is more advanced in age, partly because of the worldview that wisdom comes with age, gray hair.
There is yet another African proverb: “A traveler is wiser than a gray hair!” In other words, vantage wisdom comes with experience and also exposure.
Thus, the person who has wider experience tends to bring broader perspective to the discussion. Generally speaking, the limited nature of our knowledge could be widened by more experience, travels and exposure. And experience grows over time, furnished by many exposures, trials and errors.
Scientific breakthroughs often are fruits of multiple exposures, trials and error. The fruit of those exposures or experiences grow to a wealth of knowledge described, thereafter, as expertise. As a Cameroonian proverb says, “By trying repeatedly, the monkey learns to jump from the tree.”
No matter how one may have read stories about Manhattan or the Silicon Valley, and no matter how many movies filmed at those sites one may have seen, or how fascinating a storyteller describes those cities, one who has been in those cities has a different feel about them.
Experience and exposure are crucial aspects of our knowledge, aren’t they?
Reading the Gospel of Matthew 13:52-53, I was thrilled by the words of Jesus as he wrapped up the discussion about God’s Kingdom. He said; “Therefore, every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
Appealing to the authority of the scribe in Jewish culture as those who are esteemed experts and teachers of Gold’s and Mosaic Laws, Jesus calls attention to what exceptionalism in these areas of knowledge should be. By using the Scribe analogy, he is inviting all those who read him, who believe in him, and indeed all Christian believers and would-be-believers, to see themselves in this light.
Replace the image of the Scribe with yourself as a believer. “Every believer trained for the Kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his or her treasure, what is new and what is old.”
What is Old is grasping the revelation in the Old Testament, and what is New is seeing the newness, realization of God’s revelation in the Christ in the New Testament. A wise believer does not disconnect with the Old, but weaves the Old with the New as one message of salvation for himself or herself and for others.
Spiritually speaking and relating to the African proverbs I used earlier, it is growing in our faith in such a way that our experiences, our exposures and our knowledge of God’s Word flow as a stream of wisdom speaking one language, the language of God’s love in Christ.
Remember, as Saint Jerome said, “Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ.”
Two recommendations for today: 1) Read the bible and know the stories, old and new. 2) When you can and if you can afford it, a trip to the Holy Land, the Eternal City or other holy sites could enrich your religious experience.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Thursday, July 28, 2016, Ordinary Time: Jeremiah 18:1-6; Matthew 13:47-53]
Fr. Maurice Emelu
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.