From the Desk of Father Davis
Keep your eye on the Eight Ball! Yes, such proverbial wisdom, even from the world of billiards, has a lot to teach us. Having a keen and precise sense of sight; keeping our focus on what matters; maintaining the right perspective; and positioning ourselves for a successful result. This advice may seemingly apply to the world of sports, but it also applies to the spiritual life too.
This weekend’s readings invite the assembly to not lose sight of what is important. Helpful to keeping our eye on the “Eight Ball of life” is to always pursue prudence and wisdom as a critical element of our spiritual strategic plan for day to day living. From the days of our early education, to our collegiate credentials, to our daily walk as lifetime learners, we must always seek the knowledge, skills, dispositions, and yes, wisdom by which our lives will find their true meaning, fulfillment and completion.
The Book of Wisdom, a key component in the ancient wisdom literature of the Old Testament, underscores this point. Godly people should always prefer prudence and wisdom to all other potentialities in life, even to “scepter and throne.” Compared to wisdom, as our first reading tells us, even gold is merely “a little sand.” Yet, countless “true” riches in life are destined for those who care enough and take the time to immerse their lives in godly wisdom. It’s about having the right perspective as we live our daily lives, not getting lost in mundane things, but positioning ourselves for success in the plan that that God has designed for us.
Quoting Jesus, today’s Gospel likewise presents us with truth by which to live, fostering a keen and specific strategic plan for our spiritual lives, grounded in holy wisdom and wise conduct. Such a plan begins with our following through on our Christian obligations, namely the fulfillment of God’s Commandments. From practically time immemorial, God has desired the wellbeing of the crowing jewel of his creation, his people. His Commandments, far from being mere rules and regulations that burden us with unreasonable expectations and psychological weight, are actually the reflections of holy wisdom by which we can find life and completion as human beings created in the image of God. The Commandments are concrete elements of our standard operating procedure for life. They are the foundations of our spiritual strategic plan. They are the fences that God puts up around life’s cliffs to prevent us from falling and making a mess of things. The young man told Jesus, “I have observed them from my youth.” His answer was clearly a good thing, but it was only the beginning of his journey in pursuit of wise living. As lifetime learners, as disciples who truly love Jesus and desire to please him, as men and women eager to live life to its fullest potential, why would we just fulfill the bare minimum? We are always challenged by our faith in Christ, and his efficacious Word, to keep our focus on what matters and position ourselves to be counted among the blessed.
The Gospel seems to wisely say, don’t trade in the treasure of heavenly gifts for mere worldliness. Don’t allow yourself to be consumed with things that really don’t matter. The Apostles said, “we have given up everything to follow you.” Indeed, they had! They gave up home and family and stability for the sake of Christ. He consumed their thoughts, their hopes and dreams, their passion for life, and their time, talent and treasure. For the Christ’s sake and the sake of the Gospel, they embarked upon a life that was heaven-bound. It was a consuming perspective with eternal significance. Their choices positioned them for an “eternal life in the age to come.”
So much about our daily lives are rather banal and innocuous. We waste so much time! We focus on so many things that really don’t matter. Today’s readings invite us to rediscover the importance of prudent choices and the wisdom by which to live. If we do so, following the teachings of Christ, we will have kept our eye on the “Eight Ball” and have lived by a spiritual strategic plan that will have propelled us toward our Lord’s promise of life unending.