“Keep awake for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:13)
Our three scripture readings today all have something to say about wisdom but from different perspectives. Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians is the oldest writing in the New Testament. It reflects the disappointment settling in about twenty years after Paul had been preaching to the people of Macedonia. In the early days of Christianity many believed that the second coming of Christ would happen in their lifetimes. Some of them have died and there is concern about them being present when Christ comes. Paul reassures them that all the dead would be risen with Christ. For us, praying in the month of November, it is an early attestation to the fact that the dead will rise again. Through Christ, he says, God will bring with him those who have died. So encourage one another with these words!
The gospel teaches the lesson that characterizes the final weeks of the liturgical year. Be prepared, be alert, be awake, have your lamps trimmed for the unexpected coming of Christ. Those who are ready are called wise and that is the lesson for us today. Wake up if you tend to be indifferent and if you miss how Christ comes to us every day in many ways.
It is the first reading, from the Book of Wisdom, that really exposes the work of God’s wisdom in our lives and how accessible it us for us. Wisdom is characterized as a woman since the Greek word, Sophia, is a feminine noun. This is the feminine power of God. I have read that Saint John of the Cross (1542 – 1591), among other theologians, believed Sophia is the feminine expression of the Second person of the Trinity alive in this world. He sees it as a feminine side to the masculine logos of John’s gospel. Thus Christ, in human flesh, embodies both masculine and feminine. Other writers such as Saint Anselm, Saint Bernard and Saint Julian of Norwich all spoke of the motherhood of Christ. They saw Jesus on the cross, giving birth when his side was pierced and water and blood came out. He gave birth to the church.
In all events, Sophia in today’s reading assures us that wisdom is radiant and unfading, and she is easily discerned by those who love her, and is found by those who seek her. We can thus seek her, pray for her presence in our lives. This is truly good news for today!