Sunday’s Readings, 6 Pentecost, July 9
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” (Prov. 9:10). There is a reverential and holy fear that marks the wise person, coupled with an endless and voracious curiosity about the world, because the world has its being and continued sustenance from the Holy One. “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork” (Ps. 19:1). Love and study of the world, therefore, are a natural outgrowth of the conviction that God has created the world through wisdom and filled it with knowledge; that is, making it fully intelligible, even if forever beyond our finite capacities.
Wisdom, however, may be feigned, showing its falsity by an uncanny propensity for reading the moment wrongly. The “wise” and the “intelligent,” Jesus reminds us, often have the mysteries of God hidden from them. “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn’” (Matt. 11:16-17). Remarkably, the falsely wise and intelligent must learn, through humility and self-abasement, that human community is built and supported by emotions, intentions, and actions appropriate to the moment. So, we are summoned: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15). A “wise” and “intelligent” person who will not dance to the flute or mourn in the presence of wailing is, in truth, a fool.
True wisdom is knowing oneself and one’s brothers and sisters as those who are weary and carrying heavy burdens. True wisdom is knowing that Christ bears this load with us and for us. “Come to me, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).
Knowing Christ is also to participate in the love that the Father has for the Son, and the Son for the Father, and to acknowledge that love as flowing into one’s being and the being of the world. Through wisdom, God has made the world, made it to be intelligible, and suffused it with voluminous love.
So, we have love stories to hear and tell. “Rebekah looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she slipped quickly from the camel, and said to the servant, ‘Who is this man over there, walking in the field to meet us?’ The servant said, ‘It is my master.’ So she took her veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent. He took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death” (Gen. 24:64-67). Every beautiful marriage is more than shared human love; it is the mystery of Christ and his Church.
Again and again, the Song of Solomon has been interpreted both as God’s special love for the Jewish people and Christ’s love for the Church. “The voice of my beloved! Look, he comes, leaping upon the mountain, bounding over the hills” (Song 2:8). “My beloved speaks and says to me; ‘Arise my love, my fair one, and come away’” (Song 2:10).
Jesus is the true wisdom of God through whom all things were made — made to be unified and coherent so that our intelligence, emotions, intentions, and actions correspond to the truth, and the demands of the moment. And, most significantly, God has made the world for love.
Look It Up: The Collect
Think About It: That we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection.