GETTING OUR PRIORITIES RIGHT

THEME: GETTING OUR PRIORITIES RIGHT
READINGS: Wisdom 7:7-11 / Hebrews 4:12-13 / Mark 10:17-30
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

INTRODUCTION
A priority is something that one considers as more important than other things and should be dealt with first. In other words, as the saying goes, “first things first”. The management and outcomes of our lives, organizations, communities, nations and world would be better if we are able to get our priorities right.

In today’s readings, our attention is drawn to two priorities which we must get right. They are wisdom and eternal life.

WISDOM AS A PRIORITY
Wisdom could be defined as the ability to make sensible decisions and give good advice because of experiences and knowledge that one has. Therefore, wisdom is not the same as being clever so as to negatively outwit others.

When the young King Solomon succeeded his father as the king of Israel, he had available to him the great human resources of God’s people and the material wealth of the nation; but not without the threats of other nations. To harness these great resources while overcoming the threats, Solomon got his priority right by asking God for wisdom. Because this request pleased the Lord God, the king was blessed with not only wisdom, but wealth and honour as well (1 Kings 3:5-12).

Thus, today’s first reading captures the experience of Solomon as follows: “I prayed … and the spirit of Wisdom came to me. I esteemed her more than kingdoms and thrones; compared with her, I held riches as nothing. … all gold is a pinch of sand, and beside her, silver ranks as mud. I loved her more than health or beauty, preferred her to the light, since her radiance never sleeps. In her company all good things came to me, and at her hands incalculable wealth” (Wis. 7:7-11).

We could, therefore, say that for Solomon, wisdom was like a magnet in the midst of different metals. As a magnet attracts metals, so wisdom attracts wealth, health, honour, and other good things. The story of Solomon should inspire us, individually and collectively, to make wisdom a key priority in our lives.

Take the nation Ghana as an example. It has gold, diamond, timber, arable land for cocoa and other cash crops, good geographical spread of various water bodies, great array of human resources, to name a few. Yet the development of the nation is a pale shadow of itself. Probably, this is due to the fact that individually and collectively, wisdom has not been made a key priority. Similarly, some businesses have gone bankrupt, some marriages have broken down and there have been failures in personal lives, sometimes because wisdom was lacking. Let us, therefore, like Solomon, turn to the Lord and seek first wisdom and it will attract other blessings for us.

ETERNAL LIFE AS THE ULTIMATE PRIORITY
Whereas, wisdom should be a key priority in our social, economic, political and secular life in general, the attainment of eternal life must be our topmost priority in the spiritual sphere of human life. Eternal life is everlasting happiness with the Living God in heaven; and this is our ultimate priority in life. Like wisdom, eternal life is like a magnet that attracts other blessings. Thus, our Lord Jesus Christ exhorts us: “seek you first the kingdom of heaven and all other things shall be added unto it” (Matt. 6:33).

Thus, in today’s gospel reading, Jesus exhorted the rich man to make the attainment of eternal life his ultimate priority, but he failed to do so (cf. Mark 10:17-30). He failed to see that without eternal life his wealth would have no value for him after death; whereas, with eternal life, his wealth given in charity to the poor would have a heavenly appreciated value (cf. Matt. 25:31-46; Luke 16:19-31).

Unfortunately, like the rich man in the gospel reading, some Christians seek wealth first and vainly hope that they will ultimately attain eternal life. Sadly, such a delusion is being entrenched among Christians through the spiritual cancer of prosperity preaching or the commercialization of the gospel. Beloved, in contrast to this, let us get our spiritual priority right: let us seek first the Kingdom of God.

CONCLUSION
Beloved, with the help of God’s grace let us set our priorities right. Particularly, in our social, economic, political and secular life in general, may wisdom be a key priority, and may the attainment of eternal life be our ultimate priority. Amen!

By Fr. John K. Louis

Fr. John Louis

Very Rev. Fr. John Kobina Louis is a priest of the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana. More about him here.

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Catholic Homilies and Sermons for the liturgical year by Rev. Fr. Dr. John Kobina Louis of the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana.