Real Wisdom


Thursday of the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time

1 Cor 3: 18-23; Lk 5: 1-11

Dc. Larry Brockman

Wisdom, just what is real wisdom, the kind of wisdom we ascribe to God? 

Wisdom is not intelligence.  Intelligence is a gift that some people have more of than others but even our most intelligent people cannot match wits with the intelligence of God.  For example, no matter how hard man tries, he cannot unravel the meaning of life in worldly terms.   

And Wisdom is not knowledge, because even the most learned of people with lots of knowledge know relatively little compared to God.  Proof of this lies in our most distinguished scientists, who continually uncover knowledge of God’s handiwork of creation only to reach another layer of complexity that requires more knowledge in a never ending process, like peeling more and more layers from an onion.  Indeed, how true it is what Paul says this morning about the wisdom of this world:  “God catches the wise in their own ruse.”  No earthly knowledge or clever mind can master God’s creation secrets.  Our attempts to do so have always been met with another layer of an endless onion to unravel.   

And yet, this morning’s Gospel gives us a glimpse of real wisdom.  Jesus asks his disciples to put out for a catch.  The “wisdom” of the world tells them that this is ridiculous, because they have labored all night and caught nothing.  Surely to put out into the same waters again would be fruitless.  But they comply, and the catch is enormous.   

How does this show us wisdom?  Well, consider this.  First, the disciples showed humility- they were willing to try again despite their best efforts.  Humility is an important element of real wisdom because we have to embrace the fact that we are limited compared to God- we cannot know what God knows nor think at his level- ever.  That implies an attitude of humility, a sense of openness that is essential for recognizing wisdom.  Second, the apostles trusted the judgment of their Master, the Lord.  It is the recognition of God’s will for us, then, not our own agendas, that leads us to Wisdom.  And third, the disciples followed through with Jesus directions even in the face of seemingly impossible odds.  Indeed, we cannot allow ourselves to be held back by fear or preoccupation with other things or laziness in our quest to find wisdom.  The truly wise person is the humble, obedient servant of God, who strives to do God’s will.  That is wisdom, real wisdom. 

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