Meditations: Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

Some reflections that can enrich our prayer during the 4th Week in Ordinary Time. The topics are: Jesus’ wisdom; fruit of intimacy with God; true wisdom.

WHEN JESUS visited the synagogue for one of the first times at the beginning of his public life, his neighbors were surprised. They asked each other: Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him? (Mk 6:2). We can assume that Jesus knew the people present; He may even have worked for some of them, and He had friends there. His fellow citizens, in turn, knew that Jesus was righteous, but they had never seen Him preach or perform miracles. What happened that day caught them off guard, and so they murmured: Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary [...] and are not his sisters here with us? (Mk 6:3).

The evangelists repeatedly tell us that Jesus Christ was filled with wisdom. St. Luke illustrates this when narrating the conversation with the doctors in the Temple: And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers (Lk 2:47). Concluding the account of his hidden life in Nazareth, St. Luke adds: And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man (Lk 2:52). Later, during the years of his public life, Jesus’ person and teachings elicited astonishment around Him: Never has a man spoken like this man! (Jn 7:46). Jesus' wisdom led Him to teach differently than the scribes and Pharisees; He placed Himself above the Law they interpreted and the Temple in which they worshiped.

Jesus has come to transmit to us the wisdom of God, which is deeper than the rich knowledge we can acquire through human means. This wisdom is accessible to every good heart. “It is not necessary to be very learned in order to be truly wise,” St. Josemaría preached. “The Lord distributes [his wisdom] abundantly to those who seek him with an upright heart.”[1] We can ask the Holy Spirit to grant us the gift of wisdom, which leads us to see reality through God’s eyes. “Sometimes we see things according to our liking or according to the condition of our heart, with love or with hate, with envy.... No, this is not God’s perspective. Wisdom is what the Holy Spirit works in us so as to enable us to see things with the eyes of God.”[2]

FILLING OUR lives with divine wisdom does not mean possessing extensive human knowledge; it does not depend directly on our qualities or personal efforts. It is, above all, a gift that the Lord grants us as a result of intimacy with Him. “There is a knowledge which is only attained with holiness. One encounters hidden souls, forgotten people, who are deeply humble, self-sacrificing and holy, and who have a marvellous supernatural outlook.”[3]

St. Paul points out that true wisdom enables us to know God's will and allows us to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Col 1:9-10). The apostle to the Gentiles understands the Gospel as a wisdom that is not of this world or of the rulers of this world, who are passing away; but we speak God's wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this wisdom (1 Cor 2:6-8).

In their life with Christ, the apostles progressively acquired this divine wisdom. Their relationship with Him left in each of them a deposit of prudence, thoughtfulness, magnanimity, and a deep knowledge of reality, which would be perfected with the sending of the Holy Spirit. We too can receive this gift in many ways, especially through the sacraments. When we receive our Lord in Communion or spend time in prayer, we enter into an intimate relationship with Him that allows us to receive divine wisdom and be contemplatives in the middle of the world.

WITH WISDOM, the Scriptures assure us, come all good things at once (Wis 7:11). This gift is so valuable that King Solomon preferred it to all else: I preferred her to scepters and thrones, and I accounted wealth as nothing in comparison with her. Neither did I liken to her any priceless gem, because all gold is but a little sand in her sight, and silver will be accounted as clay before her. I loved her more than health and beauty and chose to have her rather than light, because her radiance never ceases (Wis 7:7-10).

Guided by wisdom, we learn to live with God in all circumstances, dedicating ourselves to our brothers and sisters, for “this totally gratuitous love is true wisdom.”[4] Each day presents us with numerous opportunities to live according to this gift from God. When two spouses “argue, and then they don’t look at each other, or if they do look at each other, they look at each other with displeasure: is this the wisdom of God? No! Instead, if one says: “Ah, well, the storm has passed, let’s make peace,” and they begin again and go forward in peace: is this wisdom? Yes! [...] And this cannot be learned: this is a gift of the Holy Spirit.”[5]

Jesus could not stay long in Nazareth. The visit ended abruptly due to the hostility of some of his neighbors. His wisdom did not move everyone; some of them rejected Him because of it. Later, He would reveal his wisdom in another scandal: the Cross. There, He “truly shows who God is, that is, a force of love which went even as far as the Cross to save men and women.”[6]

Jesus’ Mother was probably with Him in Nazareth that day, and she would have seen the distrust in their fellow citizens’ eyes with sorrow. She, who was the throne that cradled the divine Wisdom, can help us also welcome this gift into our lives.

[1] St. Josemaría, In Dialogue with the Lord, pg. 164.

[2] Pope Francis, Audience, 9-IV-2014.

[3] St. Josemaría, In Dialogue with the Lord, pg. 164.

[4] Pope Benedict XVI, Audience, 29-X-2008.

[5] Pope Francis, Audience, 9-IV-2014.

[6] Pope Benedict XVI, Audience, 29-X-2008.