Isaiah 58:7-10; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5; Matthew 5:13-16
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
All week long I have been railing at the weather forecasters here in the Northeastern United States. Twice in two weeks I went to bed hearing of the coming snow flurries and woke up to a foot of snow. Then there was the “snowpocalypse” – three big storms forecast (or so I thought – turns out one was a fraud) within a week that would leave us buried so far under the white stuff we wouldn’t see the light of day until the second coming. How can one profession be wrong so often and so badly and continue to collect paychecks?
It took awhile for me to emerge from my ego-created bubble of self-pity and self-righteousness. (Were I to begin to list the number of times I’ve missed the boat, by the way, on the levels of pain and suffering my students carry around with them on a daily basis I would need much more space than this blog to do so.) This week’s passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, I’m happy to say, has helped move that process along. Paul exhorts us to let our faith depend “not on human wisdom but on the power of God.”
The ugly truth is, no matter how educated we are or how skilled we might be in our given professions or how much people look to us for advice (more accurately, how much we THINK they should look to us for advice) when you compare the circle encompassing what we do know with the vast sphere encompassing what we don’t know, that first circle shrinks by comparison into an almost infintesimal nothingness. True human wisdom is grounded much more in recognizing how much we don’t know than in taking pride in what we do know.
The really good news, however, is that this doesn’t really matter. The faith that guides us and enables us to experience the love of God which sustains us has little to do with what is in our heads but a whole lot to do with what is in our hearts. Whatever wisdom we are able to achieve is really a small glimpse into the unfathomable wisdom of God.
Please accept my apology, you weather forecasters of America. Thank you for offering what guidance you can – which, if I’m honest, hits the mark more than it misses. Let our prayer this week be a share in the humility our forecasting sisters and brothers must have experienced during this past week when they realized that, not only can’t you fool mother nature, you sometimes can’t figure out what she’s up to.
Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)
To locate book-length versions of my writings, click here: http://store.pastoralplanning.com/maroforsciin.html