For the days are evil, 20 Sunday in the year 2018 B

Friends, this age requires courage for anyone to live true Christian life. It is a wicked age. Many have made themselves their own gods, becoming their own righteousness. They are proud of what they should be ashamed of, and everything they think about is life on earth. There is wide spread mutual suspicion, betrayal, blame among people even with families. Among all religions, there seems to be some members who seem to live in an unreasonable way. Nevertheless, God's promise is more than all we may wish or think. Wisdom has always been an important element for those who want to walk on God's way and live according to it. Walking on the way of God has always required one to learn from God's wisdom and adhere to it. That means being a certain kind of person. Yet, amid an evil and ruined generation, we can shine like stars in heaven (Phil. 2:15).

The Book of Proverbs is a collection of wisdom teaching aimed at guiding everyday life the one who loves wisdom (Words 9: 1-6). Wisdom was present before all else (Syr 1: 4). Without her, nothing would exist. Wisdom is portrayed as a person, a powerful woman who has built herself a house, prepared a table and mixed her wine. An invitation goes to everyone in the city to come to the feast.

In the Old Testament it was the word of God that was the food of the people. By attending the feast, each one can abandon ignorance and walk on the path of understanding. Here one finds real life. Wisdom is rooted in the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 9:10; Syr 1: 1-20). Our understanding of law and right is flawed. Even if someone is counted as perfect among humans, this is nothing worth without the wisdom that comes from you.

Bread and wine are recurring themes throughout Scripture. Of interest, we can observe that when wisdom is personalized, it is described as a woman. Bread and wine are used to describe which path we choose in life. The path of the godless ones is described as follows: "They eat the bread of the crime and drink the wine of violence (Proverbs 4:17), it is a path leading to darkness (4:19) and represents foolishness (9: 13-18). God wants to give his people to eat and drink. There is always a longing for bread and drink in humans.

The wisdom literature describes wisdom, which is available and present in the law, as bread (Provs 9: 5). It is from this perspective that Jesus' conversation with the Jews who had gathered in the Kafarnaum synagogue must be understood. Jesus has made them aware that they had not understood the bread as it was intended as a sign (John 6:26). The word of the Bible wants to show us that we are saved through faith in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:15).

We are called as we hear from Proverbs (9: 1-6) to "advance on the path of understanding". What does it mean to do this? When I reflect on my life and the various events of life I see around me and in the world either by reading about them or watching them on TV, I am more and more convinced of a dimension of life that is completely spiritual and undetectable by people. Moving forward on the path of understanding can be described as gaining insight into this dimension of life. The path of understanding in this light is the path of knowledge, the path of truth, and the path of humility. It is in this context that any human being could not access this path unless it is given by the one who is the source of understanding. “You shall be wholehearted with the LORD your God” (Deut. 18:13). Only those who have come to understanding and accepted this can really understand the best way to act with the phenomena and events of life. The temporal world is finite, subject to change, yet pointed beyond itself to an eternal world, which was the source of real significance, meaning, and life itself (2 Cor. 4:18). When we truly seek God's face, we can discern the purpose for our lives.

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians in today's second reading (5: 15-20) illustrates what it might mean to go on the path of understanding: "Be careful of how you live, like intelligent and not as ignorant people." Furthermore, he writes that though this world may be evil, we are called to save it. Take care of the time that is, for the days are evil. Seek to understand the will of the Lord. Paul urges the people not to get drunk with wine but to be fulfilled by spirit.

Ephesus was a wine producing city and it seemed that some Christians were getting drunk with wine just like the Gentiles. Therefore, we can understand Paul's saying that they should not drug themselves with wine that would lead to other sins, but they should be filled with the spirit. Like the Ephesians, we have different things that lure us away, which in themselves are not a sinful, but can open us to sin. Although we are in the world, we must learn to strive for what is up there where God is.

Self-control requires us to learn the right way of dealing with material things. We are called to be the disciples of Jesus and witness about him to the world. In other words, we are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. There are many who drink too much alcohol. The World Bank Report Voices of the Poor points out that poor people see the use of alcohol and other drugs as a main consequence of poverty, but it also shows that alcohol can be a cause of poverty. Alcohol consumption is the main cause of chronic poverty. There is an expression that says alcohol is cousin of poverty. Much consumption of alcohol prevents many from breaking out of poverty. Men who drink too much come home late, waste money on spirit and fall over everywhere and risk harm. They come home and scream to wife and children. Awareness of this led to the World Health Summit adopting a Global Strategy in May 2010 to limit the effects of the harmful use of alcohol.

There is a connection between what is said in today's first reading from the Proverbs and the verses from Paul's letter to the Ephesians read today. In Proverbs, wisdom is eager to teach people how to walk on the way of truth. Paul urges the Ephesians to live according to the Christian wisdom they have received. It is considered stupid not to live by it.

When we live in the path of understanding, we can avoid falling into religious syncretism, it is much mixed into the spiritual food we are offered. It is for us to have spiritual discernment. In this way, we can be protected against distortions of the gospel and confusion with the flow of time that ever occurs. It is easy to adapt to this world and not to be transformed through renewal of thoughts and strive to please God and do what is good.

The teaching on Christ's body and blood is one of the most fundamental faiths in the Church. This belief is that Christ is present in the sacrament, and that the communion is not merely a symbolic act, but just a sacrament, a divine presence in a concrete sign. This teaching of the body and blood of Christ is found in the Bible, although it was only later defined as a dogma. In Matthew 26: 26-29 we read the following: "While they ate, Jesus took bread, and after reading the prayers he broke it, gave to the disciples, saying," Take and eat, this is my body. "And he took a cup, and after thanking God, he gave it to them and said, "drink of it all. This is my blood, the blood of the covenant that is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. "The Evangelist John clearly writes about this in his gospel chapter 6: 53-56:" Verily, I tell you if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will cause him to arise on the last day. For my flesh is real food, and my blood is a real drink. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. "

Today, more than ever, we need to confess our faith in Jesus' real presence in the holy sacrament of the altar. God already wants to fulfil our dream here on earth, and therefore he gives himself to us as food and drink. In the eucharist, the Lord is not only near us, He enters us. He becomes the source of our lives. "As I live by the Father, also those who eat me shall live through me" (John 6:57). So that we can finally say: Christ is our life. Much happening in our time seems to deny God and the religious beliefs of society. When society seems to have forgotten or even turned away from Christ, the dangers are not just individual but collective. The bizarre effects of ideological heresies today are not least noticeable in the matter of Jesus' body and blood. Most Christians of our time even Catholics have distorted views of the eucharist.

On Wednesday, August 15, the celebration of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, with great joy, we blessed our Marian grotto with the statue of our Mother, "Our Lady of the North". In the preface to the holy Mass this day we hear: "Her uptake to heaven this day was a sign of what awaits your entire church, a sign of hope and a sweet comfort for your people during their journey through time." Surely this means that nothing of Mary's personality has been lost at her death. Her whole being has been taken up in heaven. What the Church tradition teaches us about the virgin Mary's death gives a very concrete insight into the destination of all the faithful. Mary shows what every person who believes in Christ will share. The one who dies in fellowship with God is absorbed into heaven with both body and soul. If this happens immediately at the time of death, or after a purification process or on the last day, we do not know and do not need to know. But it's important to know that once we get into heaven, it's not half of our being but with all of our personality. Chikezie Onuoha MSP.

Webbdesign: Peter Tynkkynen