In life there are those who are rich and there are those who suffer poverty. This condition is not necessarily an economic reality. There are many people that have a lot of money and yet suffer in great poverty and there are also many who have very little material goods and yet are rich beyond measure. There are even those who choose to take vows of economic simplicity so that they might experience the riches of a life filled with a greater share in the divine life of God. Our greatest gift and treasure is life itself. To be filled with life is to be rich and living in abundance. It is a reason to give thanks to God for his greatest gifts and for the grace of an abundant life. There are many people, because of life’s circumstances, that are suffering because of a poverty of life. They may be experiencing an illness that removes them from a shared life in community, they may be under a weight of sin that is draining the life out of them, they may be suffering from broken relationships that separate them from life-giving love and companionship.
God created us for life and immortality. TheWisdom writer in the first chapter of the Book of Wisdom is trying to help us to understand the relationship between wisdom and goodness or “righteousness” and a fullness of life. The Wisdom writer declares that “justice” or “righteousness” is undying. The more we choose the good, the right, the just and surround ourselves with others who value these ways of life the more that we will be filled with life. The Book of Wisdom begins with the admonition, “Love righteousness”, and helps us to understand that the closer that we draw to God and live in his presence the more that we will be filled with life and the more we will be preparing ourselves for an eternal life in his presence. God created us for life and wills that we might have a share in eternal life. Prayer, sacrament, works of charity and the divine worship of God are sources of life for us. They open the way within us to receive the grace of divine and eternal life from God.
Wisdom 1,12 admonishes us, “Do not court death by your erring way of life, nor draw to yourselves destruction by the works of your hands.” When we sin and choose to do what we know is wrong then we are courting death, for as St. Paul reminds us, “The wages of sin is death.” To do what is wrong is to place distance between ourselves and God who is the source of life. It is to introduce something destructive in our lives and place ourselves on a path of destruction. Sin destroys our life, the relationship we have with God and the divine life of grace that is within us. Wisdom reminds us, “God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.” God did not choose evil for us, he did not lead us into sin, nor does he want destruction in our lives, he is a creator not a destroyer. God sends Jesus into the world to heal the world from the destroying power of sin, to free us from death. Don’t blame God for the problems in the world, for the sickness and death of others and for the destruction that sin and selfishness causes in the world. God’s will is for the restoration of the life of grace in all people. The rest of the passage of Wisdom in chapter 1 basically cautions us against the type of thinking that says that life is short, death is inevitable and so just have fun while you can. God gives us Jesus as a remedy for sin and death. Jesus, the Eternal Word, who is Wisdom incarnate, provides for us a way out of sin and death.
In the gospel of Mark, chapter 5, 21-43, we see Jesus as a healer who is consumed with the work of restoration. Jesus comes to bring us life and the abundance of life through faith. What is needed on our part is faith, not fear and resignation. We need to believe in life not in death. Like the woman with an issue of blood, we need to touch God in some way that will bring us healing. We need to bring those who are dying to the Lord or bring the Lord to them. St. Paul reminds us that Jesus took upon himself the poverty of our life here on earth, the poverty of our suffering and death, in order that we might become rich, rich in life and experience the abundance of life, eternal life in the Father. All of us can be rich, rich in life, if we live our lives in Christ Jesus, the Lord of life. We have what we need for life if we have Christ Jesus and the Spirit of life that he has left us. In this we can find our peace.