Reflection for the 14th Sunday of the Year

My dear Friends:

How can I try to make the contents of today’s readings relevant to the challenges each one of us is facing in our daily lives?! There are a lot of interesting words and life-style comparisons in the gospel, with: learned, clever, wisdom, simple, faith! When I asked myself, what were true intelligence and knowledge? What was true wisdom? What was the life’s journey of learning about? Where did simple faith enter into all this? Like a sage emerging from the mist of confusion, Nikos Kazantzakis appeared in my imagination with his words: The real meaning of enlightenment is to gaze with undimmed eyes on all darkness.

Our personal journeys of learning and knowledge are not about flaunting an accumulated number of degrees which can result in the painful illusion of arrogant superiority. As Fr. Foley commented, this delusional superiority ‘never enters a room alone, but always brings a number of her children: arrogance, distain, boredom, cynicism. All of these are occupational hazard for the ‘learned and the cleverand none of these unlock any of life’s deep secrets.’

The same could be said about ‘simple faith’. Having a simple faith does not mean blindly following, suspending our intellects, and interpreting every challenging question that enters our minds as a sign of fearful and evil doubt! The faith journey means asking ourselves hard and challenging questions. I firmly believe that hard and difficult questions are Christ’s way of knocking at the door of our hearts and souls asking us to get to know him better! Our answers can open the door to that sacred romance with God

In the workplace, we are invariable sent away for conferences and update presentations in our areas of professional expertise. In our faith journeys, however, we often try to answer major questions about LIFE, FAITH, AND LIVING, with what we learned as children. Needless to say, we have outgrown what was presented to us as children, and some of us toss that faith into the garbage can. Part of that ‘learning journey’ is to become better-informed Catholics! It is then we can truly become engaged in informed dialogue with our intellects and with others!

Last Sunday, (and I am sure you remember this!!!!! LOL), I spoke about the hollowing of our hearts and souls to scoop out the dross of our egos. It is then that we are hallowed, made holy/sacred, by the Divine Woodcarver’s love and grace. Therefore, the authentic pursuit of knowledge and learning does not lead to delusional superiority, with her supercilious children, arrogance, distain, boredom, and cynicism! True knowledge and leaning unfold the greatness and beauty of God dwelling within each of us and is recognised in the other! It is a learning, a knowledge, and a wisdom which illumine, like a warm inner glow of awareness. This is often described as enlightenment!

This form of knowledge and wisdom, like the L.E.D. lights on a car, can illumine the path for others. These forms of learning, knowledge and wisdom attract because their source flows from the awesome greatness and beauty of God himself. It is interesting that the Latin origins, etymology, of “to educate” means “to lead out” – to lead out of darkness into the light! I guess this is what life’s educational journey is about: illumining the intellect and soul within, that we may illumine the paths around us. Someone once said that the gift of Wisdom is the fruit of years. Perhaps that is what Jalāl ad-Dīn Mevlana Rumi was hinting at when he said: Yesterday, I was young and clever, and I wanted to change the world. Now I am older and wiser, I just want to change myself. This is possibly the journey we are invited to embark upon in today’s readings!

Remember me as loving you,

Fr. Antony

The parish is part of the Diocese of Portsmouth. Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust registered charity 246871.

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