Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor (Mark 10:21)
[I] deemed riches nothing in comparison with her, (Wisdom 7:8)
One of the threads running through the readings for this Sunday portrays wisdom and holiness as superior or earthly treasure. Solomon tells us how he valued wisdom as superior to earthly treasure and power. Jesus invites the rich young man to sell all he has in order to follow Him. And the letter to the Hebrews directs us to Scripture as the source of wisdom for our day. The point is not for us all to run off and live lives of radical poverty, but rather for us to emulate Solomon’s focus on how we value God and God’s direction in our lives. In particular these readings invite us to put Sacred Scripture squarely in the center of our lives and our prayer.
As Catholics our prayer is infused with Scripture. The Liturgy of the Hours invites us to rest in the beauty of the psalms. The Mass is infused with so many Scriptural allusions that we can miss them, but the language of our prayer has deep Scriptural roots. The rosary is an almost entirely Scriptural prayer. And yet, we Catholics have a reputation for Scriptural illiteracy. Mostly because spending time with our Bibles is not something we are known for.
As men and women who root our lives in the great drama that is salvation history, we esteem Sacred Scripture as the record of the story that reaches its climax in the shedding of the Precious Blood. But we also esteem it as the guidebook for living our lives in imitation of Jesus. It is the Wisdom of God preserved for us. We must spend time with it and in it if we are to truly follow Jesus, and we must encourage others to do the same.
Time in Scripture is time alone with God. It is how we grow in relationship with God. It is how we come to understand God’s will for us, both in the broad stroke of our lives and in the details that are the day-to-day opportunities we have to love him by loving another. Because our faith isn’t only about knowing and following a list of rules. We are also called in to a relationship of love. We are invited to know and to follow Jesus, and we can only know that if we know him and the one who sent him.
Fr. Steve Dos Santos, C.PP.S., is the director of vocation ministry for the Cincinnati Province.