The first reading is a personification of wisdom. In the description of wisdom, the words knowledge and understanding were also used. These three gifts of the Holy Spirit are very similar. I wondered exactly how they differ, so I consulted my computer dictionary.
New Oxford Dictionary:
wisdom – the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of such experience, knowledge, and good judgment
knowledge – facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject
understanding – the power of abstract thought; intellect; an individual’s perception or judgment of a situation
In the second reading, Paul is addressing the Ephesians, however, it seems as though he could just as well be speaking to us here in the year 2015:
“Watch carefully how you live,
not as foolish persons but as wise,
making the most of the opportunity,
because the days are evil.”
Sometimes it seems as though that amount of evil in our world is unprecedented! The advice Paul gives is still relevant. Live as wise persons making the most of the opportunity… We can ask God to strengthening us through the sacraments, through prayer and fasting. We can ask for an increase of the gifts of the Holy Spirit within us. We can ask St. Michael and the angels to shield us and our loved ones from the forces of evil. We should use our sacramentals like holy water and pray the rosary often. Pope Pius XI said, “The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin…If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, and in your country, assemble each evening to recite the Rosary. Let not even one day pass without saying it, no matter how burdened you may be with many cares and labors.”
In the gospel today, Jesus leaves absolutely no room for interpretation. He doesn’t tell a parable, or speak figuratively. He says very plainly and firmly, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him…Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.” His body and blood is made present – the supreme gift of Himself to us- on the altar at every mass. So why aren’t people flocking to mass in droves?
I can’t help but think that if Catholics truly believed that the Eucharist is Jesus’ flesh for the life of the world, many would approach the sacrament differently. Honestly, why were the altar rails taken out of churches? Doesn’t it seem only fitting to approach and to receive our King on our knees? If we really believed that the Eucharist is Jesus’ flesh, would He be left alone in churches and chapels, or would there be lines around the block waiting to get in to see Him? If we truly believed, wouldn’t we want to be as sin free and in a state of grace before taking Him into our bodies?
You know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Do you know that Bethlehem means “house of bread?” I don’t think this is a coincidence! He is the bread come down from heaven – the bread that comes with the promise of everlasting life as proclaimed in our gospel today! Let us worship Him in the Blessed Sacrament. Let us treasure Him. Let us never take this incredible gift and grace for granted!
I’m attaching an amazing video for your discernment.
For further information on this Eucharistic miracle, here is an article on this reputable, Catholic website.