First Reading Commentary
The author of the Book of Wisdom identifies himself as Solomon but many scholars believe that the writings are of Greek origin. Wisdom is often portrayed in Scripture as female in gender evidenced by the use of feminine pronouns. That may be due to the fact that the Greek word for wisdom is “Sophia”. Mystically, the Virgin Mary is addressed in her Litany with the Latin words, “Sedes Sapientiæ” -- “Seat of Wisdom”.
“God formed man to be imperishable” but man’s gift of free will succumbed to “the envy of the devil” sentencing man to death. But God entered into the world through the Seat of Wisdom to experience the life of man in every facet, even to the point of death. Christ suffered death on the Cross but in doing so confronted man’s adversary. He took on man’s eternal sentence and defeated it fulfilling God’s will that man should be imperishable.
To choose God is to choose eternal life. Because of free will, however, it is possible to choose the devil and “belong to his company.” As absurd as that choice sounds, we’re all very much aware of our own weaknesses, and the struggles we go through to not surrender to the temptations that appeal to those weaknesses.
Without the existence of prayer and penance in one’s life, it’s very possible to not only give in to those weaknesses constantly but also dig a hole that can become too deep to get out of because the pleasures that feeds those weaknesses becomes a god. The devil can only offer an eternity of condemnation, but he is quite capable of making the deceptive road that leads to it very attractive.
Second Reading Commentary
The opening verse is a little confusing as Saint Paul prays for us to excel in our Christian walk; but when he writes, “and in the love we have for you” almost reads like we are to excel in the love Paul has for us, which doesn’t make sense. What follows clears it up a little with the words, “may you excel in this gracious act also”; in other words, excel in the love we have for each other using Paul’s love for us as a model, which, of course, is a model of Christ’s love. The Latin translates more clearly as it reads: “abound . . . in your charity towards us.” To excel or abound in the Christian faith and all that goes along with it, first and foremost requires a trusting relationship with Jesus Christ.
In His poverty He wore the crown of thorns in order that we may wear the crown of glory. He accepted the hatred from His enemies, even though He prayed for them, so that we may know the love of the Father. He lived in poverty so that we may live in the mansions of His Father’s Kingdom.
When Paul speaks of equality, certainly this could be applied to temporal goods - those who have much helping those who have little to nothing. On a spiritual level, however, those with a rich faith, through means of evangelization and living out a life of faith, by the charity of the Holy Spirit, can bring comfort and build up those who struggle with matters of faith. We are all made in the Image and likeness of God and are called to share in an eternal destiny which promises the riches of the Father’s Kingdom.
Parish communities, in other words, crowds gather on Sunday for Mass and sometimes crowds will gather for Eucharistic Adoration. Jesus welcomes us together as His Mystical Body but as also evidenced in this Gospel, Jesus gives His undivided attention to us as individuals as well. Being in the Presence of Jesus as a community of believers doesn’t require us to be pushing each other in order to get His attention or vie for position. He loves us communally and individually with a boundless dose of unconditional, perfect, Divine Love. Receiving Jesus in the Eucharist is an inexpressible joy and blessing both communally and individually. And our community is not limited to those within the walls of our parish church.
Mass is an eternal event which connects us to every Mass that has ever occurred or will occur in both heaven and earth as well as to every soul because we are the Mystical Body of Christ. Walls as well as the laws of time and space cannot divide us nor can they disturb the re-presenting of One Supreme Sacrifice. When looking at a community from that perspective, Jesus loving us as individuals becomes even more mind boggling.
When Jesus heals the twelve year old girl, He orders her to be given something to eat. Now ask yourself, which is better: To be physically healed and fed a hamburger, or to continue with a physical frailty and have your soul fed with the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ? Even when given a second chance at life, one should consider how that second chance can be used to grow closer to Jesus.
Another example for your consideration: Is it better to touch the garment of Jesus and have your physical infirmity healed even though your physical body will continue to decay as the years pass by; or is it more desirable to have your soul touched and healed by Christ’s Eucharistic Self - a soul, by the way, that will live on forever?
If you have a personal prayer need, there is no better time to ask our Lord than right after receiving the Eucharist. You will never in this life be more intimately connected to Jesus than right after being fed with His Precious Body and Blood. Hear the Voice that comes from your soul when He says: “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
Jesus praises the faith of the woman who touched His garment. But perhaps a more praiseworthy faith is one that does not despair when a prayer need is not met, but instead simply and submissively accepts that Christ’s perfect and Divine will always is and forever shall be superior to our own. It is then that our Lord’s words to the woman in this Gospel have a much deeper and intimate meaning: “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”