The wisdom of God and 50 years of marriage Print
Bishop Morlino's Column
Written by Bishop Robert C. Morlino   
Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009 -- 12:00 AM

This column is taken from Bishop Morlino’s homily at the Diocesan 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration Mass on August 16.

Dear Friends,

under the gospel book

I have three points from the readings (Ex 16:2-4, 12-15; Ps 78:3-4, 23-24, 25, 54; Eph 4:17, 20-24; Jn 6:24-35) and then a few closing observations. We heard a lot in the first two readings of this Sunday, about wisdom and foolishness.

It’s very interesting that the Scriptural author indicates that foolishness is the opposite of wisdom. He could have said ignorance is the opposite of wisdom or he could have said stupidity is the opposite of wisdom. Why did he say that it is foolishness that is the opposite of wisdom?

Many of us are ignorant of many things and many of us are stupid about a few things. But, it’s rare that we choose to be ignorant or choose to be stupid. We don’t usually say something like, “I know that’s stupid, but I want to stand by it anyway.” When people are unaware, or when people are stupid in some areas, they usually don’t choose it. But, you have to choose to be foolish. That’s why foolishness is the opposite of wisdom — you have to choose it and you have to take responsibility for it. For example, the Scriptures remind us, “the fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God’” (Psalm 14:1).

 

Foolishness in our culture

Our whole culture, at this time, has chosen to be foolish about so many things: foolish about the meaning of life itself, foolish about the value of life itself, foolish in that so many people think that our very lives, which depend on health care, should be at the mercy of political skirmishes and political victories or political defeats. What could be more foolish than to allow the most basic questions about our lives to be placed in the hands of politicians many of whom want, more than for us to have quality and reliable healthcare, to win their next election.

There is a lot of foolishness in our society and in our country and it’s chosen, because so many people simply want to “win.” People do foolish things to get more money, they do foolish things to get more power, they do foolish things to get more pleasure, and usually it’s proven to them how foolish they’ve been, only when they land in jail or are a laughingstock in the media.

The first reading also makes the connection, which the Gospel brings to completion, between wisdom and food, in particular, bread. In the first reading we hear that those who are wise will have a feast. So, being wise sounds like a good deal in the first reading. And in the Gospel, we hear that the Bread from Heaven conferring eternal life is the source of wisdom — nothing else.

Seeing things from God’s point of view

To be wise is to see everything that happens in our lives from God’s point of view. To have wisdom means to have eternal life — to see everything that happens in our world and in our lives from God’s point of view. And if we see all things from God’s point of view, we’re never afraid, because God’s loving Providence will never let us down. Never, never! No matter what kind of health bills get passed, no matter what, God’s loving Providence will not let us down, if we but allow him to give us the gift of eternal life, that is, to see things more and more the way God sees them and not as the world sees them.

So, whatever our position is on current healthcare issues — and we have every right and every duty to speak for what our position is — we should never be afraid. Some of us are in that age group that have more reasons to be tempted to be afraid than others.

But in Christ we won’t be afraid. And that’s a gift of Christ; it’s not a gift that any group in the United States Congress can give us. They’re not primarily interested in that; they’re more interested in winning. In politics somebody’s got to win and somebody’s got to loose; so you do what you can do to win and make somebody else the loser. Any security that our politicians promise us is not trustworthy, in terms of the natural fear that we have, as we grow older, in terms of healthcare.

What is trustworthy is having eternal life and seeing things from the point of view of God Himself, who always loves us and assures us that whatever is going on, He is more powerful than all the forces in the world put together, and there is no need ever for you or me to be afraid.

Wisdom and the Bread of Life

The third point — wisdom is identified with a feast; wisdom is identified in the Scriptures with bread. And we are called to consume the Bread of Life, the Eucharist, even today, at the altar. The Eucharist is the bread of wisdom; the Eucharist is our path to be able to see our lives in the world the way God sees them. That’s the wisdom that we get from the Eucharist. And we also get the strength to overcome temptation to be foolish. The gift of the Eucharist, in which Christ is embodied as the wisdom of God, lifts us above our ignorance, lifts us above our stupidity, and gives us the strength to overcome the temptation to foolishness. The Eucharist is everything!

It takes a lot of wisdom and a lot of overcoming foolishness to be married for 50 years! Just imagine all the wisdom we have gathered in the chapel this Sunday, after 50 years! And I know that some wives immediately have the idea that, “I think my most wise moment was when I realized how stupid he was.”

But, imagine the cumulative wisdom gathered; imagine all the forgiveness. And these couples, and our elderly in general, are the most treasured people in our society, because in a personal way — one-to-one — these people can hand on that wisdom and that beautiful teaching of Christ that we must forgive, to their sons and daughters, to their grandsons and granddaughters. Probably many of you have already given this gift to your sons and daughters, who can then pass it on.

Teaching the world about marriage

You and I, the older population, and you after years and years of marriage, are entrusted by God Himself to teach the world what marriage is, to teach the world that marriage is faithful, and to teach the world that in the Eucharist is completely embodied the wisdom of Christ, the forgiveness of Christ.

You and I are still in pretty good shape. As we get older, we don’t sleep that well. But, when we can’t sleep, it’s a great time to pray. When we can’t sleep, it’s a great time to get up and go to early Mass (if the Wisconsin weather will allow it). The more Eucharistic a couple is, the more they hand on this gift to their daughters and their sons, the better off the world will be.

That is a very important mission! That is your mission, my brothers and sisters. Don’t ever let anybody tell you you’re getting too old to be important. There is no mission more important than the one the Lord has placed in your hands.

Even more important than that, he has made you into the evidence for what you want to teach! Years and years of Eucharistic fidelity — there couldn’t be any stronger evidence than that; there couldn’t be any stronger evidence than you.

Thank God for the blessing of 50 years and for those who celebrate such a hallmark this year. Thank God for every blessed one of you! And thank you for reading this — God bless you and yours.

Praised be Jesus Christ!