Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

[Excerpted from the November December 2017 issue of Emmanuel. Barbara Shanahan is an alumna of Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Illinois. She has led the Buffalo, New York, Catholic Bible Studies Program since 1992.]

If we would search out one line of thought in the readings for this week it might be an answer to this simple question: “How would you describe the life of the righteous person who is entitled to receive the blessing of happiness?” However varied the context, what would ensure such a happy outcome?

Recall last week and the text from the Wisdom of Solomon where Wisdom is described as desirable and multifaceted, seeking those who would pursue her. Finding or being found by Wisdom assumes becoming learned in the ways of God. One is wise who allows this to happen and who carefully maintains that relationship. This involves making right choices, following a way of life that reflects godliness.

What is the core of Israel’s belief about godliness, about God? It is not so much about God’s demand for strict justice, or God’s power, or even God’s holiness, although each of these is very important in the biblical tradition. When all is said and done, Israel believes that God is compassionate, faithful, merciful, and steadfast.