1 Kings 3:5, 7-12
The Old Testament reading is a wonderful story of a conversation between God and Israel’s newly appointed young King, Solomon. God tells him to ask for whatever he wants and God will give it to him. Though young, Solomon knew enough to ask for something important that he really needed if he was to serve and lead God’s people in the right way. He asked for “an understanding heart to judge justly and to distinguish right from wrong.” Wow! God was impressed because Solomon did not ask for riches, for a long life or for revenge on enemies, but for “wisdom.” So God did grant him a wise and understanding heart. Even today we speak of the “wisdom of Solomon.” So what have we requested from God lately? Something important? Something we need or something we just want? It’s always time to ask, “How will God respond?”
The second reading from Romans offers one of my favorite Bible verses: “We know that all things work for good for those who love God.” For those who believe, who pray and who take time to reflect on their life, this verse may resonate with their experience. Twice in one week recently, I read in two different places, on the internet and then on a calendar, this sentence from a great philosopher: “Life can only be understood backwards, but must be lived forwards.” It reminded me of the Bible verse above. It is in looking back at life events that we often realize that God was indeed with us, giving us strength, sending us an angel of sorts to offer a helping hand, giving us a solution to a dilemma and never abandoning us in our need. Looking back, recognizing God’s loving interventions and finding meaning in our life are part of both the Jewish faith and the Christian faith. Let us take time to reflect, find meaning and then move forward in life with gratitude and trust.
In the Gospel reading Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to something precious like a pearl buried in a field and then tells us what a man does to get it. Jesus also compares it to a fishing net that brings forth really good fish, smaller useless ones and maybe even some junk from the sea. There will be a need to sort things out. Jesus says “Do you understand?” I’m not sure if I completely understand… But we do need to look at these two parables and look for their meaning. Perhaps that’s the whole point of seeking the Kingdom of God, asking ourselves the right questions. What is really important and precious to me? Do I go after it with serious thought and effort? Am I willing to sort through my life and let go of what is of poor quality, painful memories, grudges, unhealthy relationships and destructive habits? Am I willing to invite God to walk with me and show me the way?
In St. Mary’s health System part of seeking the Kingdom for us is surely to “live the mission” with energy and compassion day in and day out.
Sr. Suzanne Beaudoin, SSCh
Director of Pastoral Care