GIFT OF WISDOM: A HOMILY ON MONDAY, THIRD WEEK OF EASTER
Sam Loko, in the movie ‘My Love’ said to his son, “Only the wise can dance to the melody of life. Be wise, my son!” It is enough wisdom for each of us to promote his or her own interest. But sometimes the means we use might work against us on the long run. We become unwise if we think of the short term and not the long term effect of our actions.
In those days: Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freemen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, arose and disputed with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke. Then they secretly instigated men, who said, “We have heard his speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, and set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law; for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place, and will change the customs which Moses delivered to us.” And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.: Stephen is a man filled with the Holy Spirit. He did great wonders and signs among the people. But more significantly he has the gift of wisdom, with which he spoke and also defended the faith. The only way they could find anything against him is to lie against him. Even when they saw the innocence on his face, which looked like that of an angel, they still ended up killing him. He was not afraid to die, because he thought more about eternity than about this life. His heart was on heavenly things and that is why they saw something heavenly about him. He did not look like a human being because he has moved from the natural to the supernatural.
After five thousand men had eaten their fill, the disciples of Jesus saw him walking on the sea. On the next day the people who remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. However, boats from Tiberias came near the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when id you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labour for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”: Stephen’s wisdom is in direct contrast with these people in the gospel whose hearts are set on eating and drinking. In fact, they think they are wise by seeking what is good for them, namely food. But food is something you eat today and feel hungry tomorrow. So, living for earthly things is not wise, but foolish. Jesus tells them not to be preoccupied with their desire for earthly food, at the expense of their desire for heavenly food. In our foolishness, we minimise the maximum and maximise the minimum. We give more attention to things we should give less attention to and give less attention to things we should give more attention to. This is because we operate on the natural. But when the Holy Spirit comes to us with His gift of wisdom, we will learn what is truly important and what is less important and like Stephen, we will look more like angels than humans. We will not live according to the desires of the flesh, but according to the desires of the Spirit. Only the wise can dance to the melody of life, but not the wise in terms of the people in the gospel, but the wise in terms of Stephen whose heart is set on heavenly things.