In our Catholic Liturgy of the Mass, the first reading from the Old Testament and the third reading from the Gospel are usually connected. The Old Testament reading often prefigures the Gospel and the Gospel often enlightens our understanding of the Old Testament reading.
In today’s first reading (First Book of Kings 3:5, 7-12), we have the story of Solomon’s wonderful dream.
We are all delighted when we have a good dream and often share it easily at the breakfast table. Other members of the household listen willingly and give their own expert interpretation from their own two cents of wisdom.
Solomon’s dream was amazing, unbelievable. God invites him to ask for anything he wishes and promises to give it to him.
If God spoke to me like that what would I ask for? If God spoke to you like that what would you request of him?
Solomon’s request was gracious, humble and thoughtful. He was aware of his youth and of his new responsibilities as the successor to his father, King David, who ruled Israel for 40 years.
“Give your servant therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong. For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?”
God was pleased with Solomon’s petition not for riches, not for a long life, not for victory in battle, but for an “understanding heart to know what is right.” He gave it to him willingly and abundantly, so much so that Solomon’s name has becomes synonymous with wisdom.
The Gospel for today’s Liturgy gives us the last three parables of the seven presented in Chapter 13 of Matthew’s account of the preaching of Jesus. All are parables of the Kingdom of God and the ones we hear today — that of the treasure hidden in the field, then the pearl of great price and the net thrown into the sea and bringing out a great haul of fish of every sort.
They all give us some insight into the mystery of the Kingdom. They also provoke us to think, to figure out things for ourselves and above all to recognize the presence of the Kingdom in our midst. The use of parables was a favorite way of preaching by Jesus. He interpreted some of them for the disciples but for the most part he left them for us to do our own job of interpretation.
Perhaps for that task we all need something of the wisdom of Solomon; we, too, need an understanding heart and the willingness and ability to apply it to the reality of our present-day situation.
We are all dreamers longing for acceptance, for a place we call home, for justice and a better way of life. God is in our dreams, too.
We are all leaders, maybe not in a political sense, but we need to pray regularly for our elected leaders. Each one of us is a leader in the sense that every single person can make a difference in the life of our nation.
We are all seekers searching for the hidden treasure of truth about life and about justice for all. Each and every human life is precious and matters.
We are all searchers for that mysterious pearl of great price — to love and to be loved, now and for all eternity.
We are all in the same boat and in the same net of humanity like the fish, good and bad, until the end of the age, when that difference will be resolved by the angels of God.
The Kingdom of God is among us. Like Solomon, let us ask God for an “understanding heart” to know what is right and what is wrong, so that together we may fulfill His plans of peace for all His sons and daughters.
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