Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Let whoever is simple turn in here; to the one who lacks understanding, come… Forsake foolishness that you may live.” So speaks Wisdom in our reading from Proverbs 9, and this summons can serve as an invitation for us through out the week as we ask God to show us the foolishness that we are to forsake, so that we may eat of the true food that Wisdom lays before us. But we should not equate the growth in understanding to which Wisdom invites us to an increase in subtlety or sophistication. No. To learn the ways of God, we need to recognize the foolishness of our convoluted (self-)justifications and let ourselves be perplexed by, and then converted to, the simple ways that God indicates, so that we may become like “little children.”
In our reading from Ephesians 5, Paul stresses that the reality of our foolishness or our understanding is revealed through the way that we lead our lives. Do we feed ourselves on the food that we receive from “evil days,” “in which lies debauchery,” or do we “seek to understand the will of the Lord” through which we will be “filled with the Spirit?”
The subtle may be quick to second guess and judge God (as many do in the Gospels), since the will that God reveals in the person of Jesus will always surpass any conception of God that we could ever arrive at. If a man offering his flesh to eat were not scandalous enough to his audience, in today’s Gospel, Jesus also offers his blood to drink, insisting “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” The imagery is crude, and Jesus does nothing to lessen it for those who are scandalized. Jesus says “the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.” Jesus, who is Wisdom incarnate (Mary is the “seat of Wisdom”), invites us to turn away from the drunkenness of dark days (to which Paul refers), and instead feed and drink from God’s very self. If we do this, then insofar as we remain in him and he in us (Jn 6:56), we will become like the food that we receive, and the world will receive the body of Christ when it receives us.
August 16th, 2015