In Scripture, Wisdom is a woman
Last Sunday, we celebrated Pentecost which commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit. The feast reminds us that God is ever-present in our lives, hopefully informing and inspiring our actions. This Sunday, we hear reflections on how to experience and be moved by God, as we deal with the ongoing violence that plagues our country and world.
“When he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth” (Jn 16:13).
What can you do to promote peace?
How are you coping with the violence of the world?
How does Scripture help you to reflect, pray and live?
In the first reading, we hear from Woman Wisdom, a prominent literary character in biblical wisdom literature. In Proverbs, Wisdom is depicted shouting out for justice in the streets, calling for people to be thoughtful and wise, and yet she is often ignored by her community.
In today’s reading, Woman Wisdom shares her story. She is depicted alongside God with divine status, participating in and facilitating creation: “The Lord possessed me…from of old I was poured forth; When the Lord established the heavens I was there…beside him as his craftsman.” This depiction of Wisdom is a notable biblical example of feminine language and power associated with God, who is of course beyond gender but who is very often associated with male epithets and pronouns.
The themes associated with Wisdom in Proverbs are especially relevant today. When Wisdom speaks, she critiques her community for being arrogant and close minded: “How long, you naïve ones, will you love naivete, How long will you turn away at my reproof? The arrogant delight in their arrogance and fools hate knowledge” (Prv 1:22-23).
Since the horrific mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, and the thousands of others who have died from gun violence in the United States in this year alone, we still do not have enough wise leaders who will use their power to help to protect all of us. Just as Woman Wisdom is relentless in crying out in frustration and anger, we all should do the same until we see the changes that are needed.
Today’s Gospel from John affirms the coming of the Holy Spirit, who is referred in today’s reading as the Spirit of truth. Similar to Proverbs, the Gospel reminds us of God’s power and presence in the world. Jesus informs the disciples that the Spirit would come and “will guide you to all truth.” As we pray for healing and peace and mourn the many lives that we have lost, we must acknowledge and be moved by wisdom and truth.