What gets you up each morning? (Besides Folgers in your cup?) What drives you to go to work? Where do you get the energy you need to do all you have to do each day?
Most answers will come down to one reason: the need to provide for yourself and your family. In today's American culture, this may mean more than just having the basic necessities, but also having the trophies of success that indicate that "you have arrived." And many of us have arrived. Only we're tired and frazzled by the trip.
That makes today's Gospel passage on this holiday weekend even more appealing. We'd like to lay our burdens down and rest.
Surely we cannot stop providing. Nor is it evil to have some of the niceties that the material world can provide. But, we can come to Jesus and learn a few lessons. Lessons that might make this a different kind of Independence Day for us. A freedom from chasing after goals that are elusive and never enough.
There is another way to live-with "Kingdom Wisdom" which counsels us to love God first of all, to love neighbor as ourselves, to be meek in the sense of being non-violent, and to die to selfishness.
The problem is that this Kingdom Wisdom doesn't always work in the real world. The tension between t and "Conventional Wisdom" has produced unattainable ideals, uneasy consciences, and homilies that don't always speak to our life experiences.
It's a mistake to compare or oppose these two types of Wisdom. They are based on different visions of the same reality. When Jesus told the rich young man to sell everything if he wanted to be perfect, Jesus wasn't putting down riches, but rather giving advice to that particular man. The principle for everyone else involves looking at what keeps us from following the Lord and then doing something about it. In another case, Jesus did not call the man foolish because he built bigger barns to hold his harvest, but rather because he was selfishly hoarding his property. How'd that work out?
We are not called to choose one way or the other but to integrate these two types of wisdom. We steep ourselves in Kingdom Wisdom and take in only as much Conventional Wisdom as needed to live in our culture. We thus develop "Personal Wisdom" under the guidance of the Spirit. And that Personal Wisdom is what gets us going, drives us, and provides the energy for our lives.
-Fr. Sas, July 6 Homily
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A