Grace to you!
There is an African proverb that says: "There is wisdom in gray hair."
Unlike in some other cultures where people would prefer to be described as younger, generally, the African prides himself or herself as an elder. People feel a sense of pride in being described as older and elders. It is partly because of the worldview that wisdom comes with age, gray hair.
Another African proverb says: “A traveler is wiser than a gray hair!” In other words, wisdom comes with experience and exposure.
The person who has a wider experience tends to bring a broader perspective to a discussion related to the experience. Generally speaking, experience and exposure broaden the limited nature of our knowledge. Moreover, experience grows over time, deepened by many exposures, trials, and errors.
Scientific breakthroughs often are fruits of multiple exposures, trials, and error. The fruit of those exposures or experiences grows to a wealth of knowledge described, afterward, 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 Silicon Valley; and no matter how many movies filmed at those sites, one may have seen; unless one has lived in those cities, one still has a limited perspective about them.
Reading the Gospel of Matthew 13:52-53, I was thrilled by our Lord's words 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.”
The Scribe's authority in Jewish culture as those who are esteemed experts and teachers of God's and Mosaic Laws are evident. The Lord Jesus calls attention to what exceptionalism in these areas of faith and knowledge should be. It is drawing from old things and new things (more on this in the next paragraph). Using the Scribe analogy, he invites 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. 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 themselves and others. The Old Testament points to the New, the Christ. Christ is its fulfillment.
Relating to the African proverbs I used earlier, plus a spiritual meaning, one could see it as the following. It is growing in our faith in the light of what is revealed in the text of scripture (Old and New); and what we live in the Church's living sacred tradition. We live in such a way that our experiences, exposures, and knowledge of God's Word flow as a stream of wisdom speaking one language, the language of God's love in Christ. Using a more technical, theological language—excuse my use of the term— it is a hermeneutics of continuity, not that of discontinuity. Total discontinuity with the past is a recipe for self-destruction of our faith identity. It is a self-inflicted wound to the body.
Remember, as Saint Jerome said, “Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ.”
I propose two recommendations for today:
1) Read the Bible and know God’s Word as revealed in both the Old and New Testaments.
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, Week 17, Ordinary Time: Jeremiah 18:1-6; Matthew 13:47-53]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.