20th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Prv 9:1-6, Jn 6:31-41) “Feasting Upon Divine Wisdom” PDF Version
Homily for 20thSunday of OT, Year B (2018): Prv 9:1-6; Jn 6:51-58
To encounter the true and living Jesus Christ is to know Him in both His perfect humanity and perfect divinity. Many can relate to and be inspired by the humanity of Christ. His love for the poor, His desire for social justice, His willingness to serve those in need, His prophetic teaching and all in all witness of compassion and love has inspired both Christian and non-Christian to be drawn to Jesus of Nazareth and uphold Him as one of most inspiring individuals of human history.
But a Christian cannot simply admire the Sacred Humanity of Christ and be content with the accolades He receives for being truly great among the religious leaders of history. A Christian must also proclaim His divinity, boldly saying that Jesus of Nazareth is also the Only Begotten Son of God, existing for all ages, abiding for all eternity, dwelling in unapproachable light.
Jesus Christ has always existed in His Divinity, there was never a time when Jesus did not exist and He in the unity of the Father and Holy Spirit is the only God that ever was, is or shall be.
To downplay or reduce the Divinity of Christ as a secondary attribute of the inspiring rabbi who taught in the lands of Galilee and Judaea is to deny the person of Jesus Christ and fail to understand how He is the promised fulfillment of all the prophecies and teachings that came before Him.
But many will ask where does one find in the writings of the Old Testament the prophecies and teachings that speak of the Divinity of Jesus? The chief priests of Israel who condemned Jesus to death were horrified that He proclaimed Himself to be the Son of the Living God, in part because they did not see where in their Holy Scriptures it was said that the Messiah of Israel would also be God in the flesh!
One portion of the Old Testament where we discover passages that speak of the Divinity of Jesus Christ is the Wisdom Books. Among these writings is the Book of Proverbs, traditionally attributed to King Solomon as maxims and sage teachings about how to live a virtuous and holy life.
Many of them are practical words of advice on how to choose the good and avoid what is evil, but other passages of the Book of Proverbs are shrouded in a cloud of divine mystery and require us to pause and understand what God is teaching us.
In our First Reading today, we learn of a seven pillared home built by Wisdom, where animals are slaughters, wine mixed and bread given to share in a feast. St Augustine taught that this passage from the Book of Proverbs in one of the many prophetic announcements about the coming of the Messiah who was both perfect God and perfect Man. He taught that the seven pillars of the house built by Wisdom referred to the world that was built in seven days. The one who build this home, that is the entire created universe, is Wisdom, who is referred to elsewhere in the Book of Proverbs as the Master Workman.
St Augustine went further to teach that to speak of the Wisdom of God is to speak of the Word of God (Jesus Christ) who is coeternal with the Father, the one who built as a house for Himself a human body in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and would in time set His table with bread and wine for many to consume.
St Cyprian taught further that the animal slaughtered in the house of Wisdom is none other than Jesus Christ who was sacrifice on the Cross, and that from this sacrifice would be given the bread that would come down from heaven as the Lord’s own flesh, and the chalice mixed with wine and water, the same wine and water that flowed for His side after he was pierced by the soldier’s lance while upon the cross.
The Book of Proverbs finally reveals that to eat this bread and drink this chalice is also be given divine instruction, since to have communion with Christ in the sacrament of His Body and Blood is also to invite divine wisdom into one’s life to grow in the way of moral excellence and personal holiness.
And so in the Book of Proverbs we discover one of the many passages of the Old Testament that speak of the Divinity of Jesus Christ, a passage that Jesus brought to fulfillment in the town of Capernaum when He declared that whoever eats His flesh will live forever, for His flesh is true food and His blood true drink, and that to consume them is to abide in Divine Wisdom for He is the Wisdom of God who alone gives the gift of life eternal.
Each and every opportunity we have to receive the Holy Eucharist, whether it be on Sunday or if we are able to attend Mass daily, should be looked upon as a feast of faith where I am personally and communally invited by Jesus Christ and be welcomed at the Altar of His Body and Blood. It is here that He invites us to enter into communion with Him personally, to feed you with His own life, and to allow Him to fill your heart, mind and soul with the Gift of His own Divine Wisdom.
Often we can approach Sunday Mass as an obligation we must fulfill and less a privileged feast where God Himself welcomes you by name and desires to share His own life with you. Certainly it is noble and essential to fulfill our Sunday obligation, but how much richer and more joy filled it will be if we come to Mass on Sunday with a spirit of love and gratitude that God has personally invited me to dine at His table of life and offers me the heavenly food that is endowed with His own wisdom.
Jesus Christ has provided us with the sure and certain means to have a meaningful, life giving and lasting relationship with Him and His Church in the gift of His Body and Blood. It is in this heavenly food that we known Him to be Perfect Man and Perfect God and where we can dare to hope our deepest longings for happiness will be fulfilled and our hope for eternal life set aflame.