Ordinary Time 28, Year B

In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:3)

St. Paul proclaims that Christ crucified, though a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, is God’s power and wisdom for those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike.

I do not, of course, doubt the truth of this Pauline proclamation. Nor do I have trouble accepting that this can be said of Christ, as God’s power and wisdom: he is effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating and discerning; he is preferable to every position or title of royalty and authority, to health and comeliness, and he cannot be compared or likened to either riches or other things we human beings take to be treasures.

But I am hesitant, yes, to make my own St. Paul’s proclamation, even though it is certainly not a tongue-twister and I think I can say it just as easily and spontaneously as someone came out saying, during a political campaign, that Jesus Christ is his favorite political philosopher.

I hesitate because I do not want anyone saying it to my face that I am a hypocrite, one of those who honor Jesus with their lips but their hearts are far from him. Nor do I want Paul’s message to be put into question owing to my decisions and actions belying my proclamation rather than corroborating it. For the truth is that I have not even observed wholeheartedly the commandments or, much less, have I followed Jesus with total commitment and devotion after letting go of all false sense of security that sadly even the little bit I earn can lead to.

But, thank goodness, all things are possible for God and he makes possible what is impossible for me. I do not give up hope, then, that someday I can make my own St. Paul’s proclamation. In regard to this, of course, it behooves me not to count on any power or merit I may have, since to deem myself capable or deserving of something good could possibly detract from God’s goodness.

I should count rather on God’s grace or—in accordance with St. Vincent’s words of advise to St. Louise—I should put my trust in God and certainly not in my preparation nor in my activities, since the throne of God’s goodness and mercies is built on the foundation of human wretchedness. Jesus’ word of wisdom can prune me like a branch (Jn. 15:2-3); God’s goodness will render it possible that I love him with the strength of my arms and the sweat of my brow and thus move beyond lofty thoughts, sweet conversations and eloquent angelic proclamations.

In the end, really, the one proclaimed as God’s power and wisdom is vindicated by his works (Mt. 11:19; Lk. 7:35). And because all good things together come to us in his company and countless riches are at his hands, they will receive their generous reward, those who leave everything for his sake and for the sake of the gospel, those who, because of Christ, consider a loss those things that the worldly take for gains. They lack nothing, those who cling to him who is God’s power and wisdom.