Comprehending the Gospel

“Wisdom! Attend! Let us listen to the Holy Gospel! Peace be with you all!” (Divine Liturgy, preamble to reading of the Gospel)

Wisdom is the requirement not just to listen to the gospel, the normal translation, nor to read it ourselves at home or in the English translation provided in those churches praying in other languages, but to grasp the inner meaning. The inner sense comes from wisdom [Sophia. Premudrost.] Sophia means the deep things of God which we understand not just by reason but by preparing our souls to comprehend a “hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory.” And how do you gain that great wisdom? By returning to the purity and innocence of childhood. By cutting through the drivel, the superficial veneer that has built up over the years of listening to banality, vulgarity, stupidity and nonsense that infects our hearing and pollutes our minds so that we not only do not hear any longer those truths about life and meaning and purpose and direction, we have long forgotten that such realities exist. The sounds of the world have clogged up the arteries of the mind. The banalities, trivia and truisms have infected us so that we not longer hear as we had when we were children. So each time the gospel is read, we are warned that what is coming is not what you learn from TV or read in a magazine. This is profound wisdom. But even with this warning and invitation, it’s so difficult to change the way we tune into the world.

What is needed is a blessing. “Peace be with you all.” The voice is my own as the celebrant at the Divine Liturgy for the Lord Jesus Christ, and I have no peace of my own to give you. I’m just like you – maybe even a bit worse – yet I have the honor and duty to appear as the representative of Jesus who is here among us but cannot be here physically; He sent me to appear on His behalf. With the mystery of wisdom, then you can imagine through me Christ is really here with us. With my hand He is blessing all of you the way He did the apostles in the Upper Room on Resurrection day.

Once again, all this is hidden, possibly just nonsense, to those Christ called the “wise and prudent.” [Or learned]. Who are they? God forbid they are you. They are those who live in an adults only world. They know everything, but they know nothing about the ways of the Lord. They are street smart. Shrewd and clever, they don’t believe in anything or anyone, and they call it wisdom. They live by axioms like:
a) All men are hypocrites no matter what they tell you;
b) They all have a price and can be bought and controlled – it’s just a matter of money;
c) Don’t trust anyone.
Yet Jesus said that “Many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see and have not seen it, and hear what you hear and have not heard it” (Luke 10:24)

What did they want to hear?
A. That the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth is still concerned for the universe;
B. He is not to be feared, except if you are a sinner and don’t know Him;
C. To His children, He is a Father;
D. To His special Son, He is a special Father;
E. He invites and welcomes all who wish to be adopted children through bonding with Christ; Note: You don’t adopt adults, of course; you only adopt children. Therefore, to be a son or daughter of the heavenly Father, you must return to childhood, and to do so you will become what the world calls foolish.
F. For “The Father so loved the world that He sent His Son into the world so that all who would like to become united with the Father are encouraged to do so through the Son by the Holy Spirit.” (John 3:16)