Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

(I Kings 10:1010; Mark 7:14-23)

Abraham Lincoln was born two hundred and five years ago today.  Of all the American presidents he is regarded as the wisest.  In his second inaugural address he displays a depth of wisdom that few political leaders anywhere have matched.  Rather than tout the righteousness of his victorious side in the great civil war, Lincoln recognized the whole nation’s complexity in evil and appealed to God for mercy.  Promising “charity toward all and malice toward none,” Lincoln gave direction to the enormous healing needed of all the wounds the war inflicted.  Lincoln capably followed in the path of righteousness that Solomon sets in today’s first reading.

The Bible Solomon the personification of wisdom.  Not only does the Queen of Sheba make the paean to his wisdom as the reading records, but he is associated with almost every wisdom book in the Old Testament.  Solomon’s wisdom begins with the essentials—one must fear the Lord and follow in His ways.  In time love for the Lord will replace fear and the need for law will be diminished, but for the unruly majority of human beings, fear and law remain foundational.

The Bible almost implores us to seek wisdom.  Unfortunately, many would rather be rich or wealthy or young.  Wisdom, however, brings us happiness at every stage of life.  Because it is such a favorable companion, it is well characterized as one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.