18 August 2012

BE WISE: DON’T SETTLE FOR THE “GOOD LIFE”

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jn 6:51-58 (Prv 9:1-6 / Ps 34 / Eph 5:15-20)
          

I find it quite interesting that the words “full” and “fool” are homonyms.  They sound the same; and though they do not mean the same their meanings are somewhat related.

The term “fool” came from the Latin word follis which means “a bag or a sack”.  It also refers to a large inflated ball or a windbag.  Thus, in the Latin vocabulary, follis is a container that contains nothing but air.  In later years, Latin-speakers saw the similarity between an inflated ball and a person whom we may describe as an “airhead”.  This pejorative meaning of the Latin follis reached the English dictionary via French.  It was in the early 13th century when the word “fool” first appeared in an English writing to mean “a stupid, ignorant, foolish person.”

Interesting, is it not?  And how appropriate!  For indeed, a stupid person appears to have nothing in its head but air.  Worse, if such a person even thinks he knows everything when in fact he has a vacuum for a brain.  He goes around trying to impress everybody how full he is when in truth he is starving.  He is a follis.  He is not full.  He is foolish.

In our modern vocabulary, the antonym of foolish is wise.  Do you know the etymology of the word “wise”?  The term “wise” came from the Old English vocabulary and was rendered “wis”.  It meant “to show”, and therefore “to know”.  Now, isn’t that interesting, too?  A foolish person parades himself puff-up when he is actually empty.  But wisdom shows a person his hunger so that he may know better.  A fool is not full, but the wise knows his emptiness.

Are we full or empty?  Are we foolish or are we wise?  What is our emptiness?  What is our hunger?  What fills us up?  Just as it is important to know what we eat so is it vital to see what eats us up.

The world suggests to us its own menu to satisfy our hunger and fill up our emptiness.  Advertisements frequently appeal to our basic cravings, don’t they?  Jollibee’s selling theme, “Langhap-sarap”, claims that its hamburgers do not only taste delicious, they smell as delicious too.  Pop Cola describes itself as “Tama ang timpla” while Sarsi is “Angat sa iba!”  While Mang Inasal claims for its roast chicken, “Hahanap-hanapin mo”, Max’s Restaurant proudly describes its fried chicken, “Sarap to the bones!”  But don’t forget Andok’s Litson is the “Pambansang Litsong Manok”.  Century Tuna sardines says, “Think healthy.  Think Century Tuna”.  Coca-Cola declares, “Coke adds life.”  KC’s secret for her long and split-end-free hair is Palmolive and Piolo Pascual needs Centrum to be complete.

Evidently, the motive behind every advertisement is to sell us the “good life” by assuring that its product will satisfy our desires.  But, we know by experience that the “good life” they sell us satisfy our desires temporarily only.  There are new products to try simply because we are not satisfied with the one we presently patronize.

But why settle for the “good life” when we can have the “best life”?

In the first reading today, wisdom is personified, interestingly, as a woman (Why not a man?).  She prepared a meal and sent her maidens to invite the simple and those lacking in understanding.  She sets as condition to living the need to forsake foolishness.  Wisdom alone satisfies human hunger, but wisdom here does not mean possession of high intelligence quotient but seeing and knowing one’s folly so as to fill up one’s emptiness with what is the truly good things.  If “good life” is what we are really after, then we must concern our selves only with the good things in life.

The Psalm that immediately follows the first reading today teaches us right away what is really and ultimately good: the goodness of the Lord.  That goodness we are invited to taste and see.  The psalmist testifies to that goodness: “I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”  That goodness, the psalmist continues, makes us radiate with joy, saves us from shame, and pays attention to the poor in whose behalf the Lord acts.

Thus, in the second reading, the Apostle Paul exhorts the believers in Ephesus to be vigilant about the way they live so that they may always conduct themselves with wisdom.  And how should that be?  St. Paul tells the Ephesians to understand the will of the Lord – that is discernment.  He directs them not to get drunk on wine – that is discipline.  He advises them to address one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in their hearts – that is charity.  And he encourages them to give thanks always and for everything in the name of Jesus – that is prayer-life.  The same essential teaching is also for us today.  For who among us wants to be foolish?  Not one, I suppose.  We all want to be wise.

Yet, no one can be any wiser than him who fills up himself with nothing less than the Lord Jesus Himself.  In the gospel today, Jesus declares that He Himself gives life to the world.  This life we receive when we eat His Flesh and drink His Blood.  “…the one who feeds on Me will have life because of Me,” Jesus proclaims.  What can be better than that?  The wisest among us is not the most intelligent among us or the one who easily gets his way through anything but he who has the life of Jesus in him.  Are we that person?

Shall we settle with the so-called “good life” that the world offers or should we not nourish the “best life” that Jesus gives us with nothing less than Himself?  Advertisements may shout about the essentials of life, true; but, they feed us with nothing more than the superficial.  Jesus alone shows us how to live fully…interestingly not by grabbing but by giving, not by preserving life but by laying it down for others.

And yet, the world considers Jesus a fool.  But, hey, look who’s talking!

1 Comments:

At 11:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Fr.Bobby !


As the famous saying goes : Life is what you make it", it's
very true to all.the direction of which way to take is the exact measurement of one's attitude towards life.

whether wayward or forward is up to us.


Being with Jesus, all the time is the most effective gain one can have as a gift.

Talking to Him is another step that
brings us closer to Him..

When we get close to Him, when we feel He is with us, and we are with Him,we have the" best of life".

Im so thankful Fr. Bobby that I had the chance to read your Homily tomorrow and the previous ones too.

--Your Love of God is so great that we could feel in your Homilies
everytime.

my warm regards to the family !

----

rory


 

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