He asked for wisdom for the benefit of both his kingdom and God’s kingdom and a heart to understand how to discern between good and evil. Knowing what is good and evil is a precious quality for any person, especially for those in authority. Solomon could have asked for personal fulfilment and satisfaction such as long life, riches, victory over his enemies or positions of honour. But he did not. He asked for wisdom to govern the people.Fr. Dumlesi N. Tor
(1Kgs 3:5,7-12; Rom 8:28-30; Matt 13:44-52)
The Church reminds us that the greatest of all treasures is the kingdom of God. In his love, God himself has chosen us and prepared it for us before time. So, the Holy mother church encourages us to pray for wisdom as Solomon did, to enable us discern the true value and mysteries of God’s kingdom’.
Looking at our society today (both in the civil and religious sphere) makes one wonder at the number and nature of things that one desires most. This desire extends from houses, exotic cars, political positions, household items, holiday spots, spouses, fames, etc. One gets from this the impression that we really perceive a lack in our lives. Hidden in these search and offers is a wish for happiness, security, recognition and fulfilment, but the question is: “Is one really fulfilled or happy after acquiring all these”. The liturgy today challenges us to take a second look at the efforts and troubles we deploy in the bid to attain these goals; and to evaluate whether these goals are really what matters in our lives and for our holistic welfare.
The first reading reports the lord’s apparition to King Solomon in a dream at night, while the newly anointed had come to the sanctuary at Gibeon to offer sacrifice. The lord initiated a dialogue with a wide open proposal to the king: “Ask what I shall give you”. If you are giving a once-in-a life time opportunity to ask God anything you wish, what will you ask for? What a unique opportunity to get what he wants.
Solomon did not miss his chance. He started by praising God for having treated his father David with great love. He acknowledged his unworthiness, how young and unskilled he is compare to the people God has given him to rule. He asked for wisdom for the benefit of both his kingdom and God’s kingdom and a heart to understand how to discern between good and evil. Knowing what is good and evil is a precious quality for any person, especially for those in authority. Solomon could have asked for personal fulfilment and satisfaction such as long life, riches, victory over his enemies or positions of honour. But he did not. He asked for wisdom to govern the people. God heard Solomon’s selfless request and gave him a wise and understanding heart.
We scarcely need the Wisdom of Solomon to realize that in finding the love of God and the kingdom of God we have found a treasure beyond price. It is in the joy of this realization that we hold our celebration today. With the parables in the gospel reading today, Jesus reminds of the need to set our priorities right.
We are all treasure hunters. We seek the ‘pearl of great price’, the one thing that will answer our deepest yearning and make us truly happy. The problem is that we spend a lot of time looking for it in the wrong places – outside ourselves and end up frustrated. The treasure we seek is the presence of God for which our hearts were made. St Augustine writes movingly about his own experience of seeking and finally discovering this divine treasure in his famous autobiography, The Confessions. After a fruitless search for this treasure outside himself, he finally discovers it in the depths of his own heart. His words convey his joy in discovering the hidden treasure: “Late have I loved you, o beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you.”
Today’s gospel invites us to hearken to the divine presence within our own hearts for there is found the hidden treasure we seek, the priceless pearl for which we must give up all we possess. Yes, there is a price to be paid for the divine treasure. We have to make choices, to let go of the things that distract us from the quest – things we foolishly imagine will make us happy; such as power, wealth, or success. Like Solomon we need ‘a discerning heart’ to keep us on the right path, the path that leads us to the secret treasure hidden by the angels. Sometimes, perhaps, we may have found the treasure and then left it aside or forgotten about it. However, like the Welsh priest poet, R. S. Thomas, we can recover it by slowing down, turning aside, and attending to a ‘brightness that seemed as transitory as your youth’.
The readings today should move us to a certain examination of conscience. What value has Jesus in my life as an individual? Am I happy to have discovered him? Am I happy or contented with my achievements? Is my Christian faith more of a burden than a cause for joy? As we reflect on these may God help us to discover what will be useful in our lives. Amen.
Peace be with you!
Fr. Dumlesi Tor