Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Can you imagine yourself in King Solomon’s place. You’re standing before God and he offers you anything you want and it will be given to you. There does not seem to be any limits placed on this request. Wealth, position, a life that goes on forever without aging, beauty and strength. Imagine the possibilities of all that you could ask for. 

Would you ask for wisdom? 

Honestly, I’m not sure that would’ve been my first choice — but when I take this reading from Kings coupled with the reading from Romans, as well as this weekends reading from the Gospel of Matthew — the choice of wisdoms begins to make a lot of sense.

Our conventional understanding of wisdom generally means the appropriate use of knowledge and experience. It took me a little digging, but the Biblical understanding of wisdom appears to be wanting what God wants — specifically for you, specifically for me — and to let that be what guides your life. 

In Romans, the importance of thinking along these lines is stressed. This passage from Romans implies that when our lives are ordered in this particular way, it brings with it goodness and happiness. Traditionally, we do not think about our happiness in this way, and this may actually be a good part of the reason that we experience unhappiness and feel unsettled. 

If you believe that your life is directed toward particular purpose, then the closer you can get to that purpose, the greater your peace and happiness is going to be. I know many times in my life that I think that this new job, this better car, this new friendship, or any number of other things is going to finally bring me some peace and serenity. Very often it does for a time, but then that old longing resurfaces again, and my heart, my soul continues to search for that which seems to be missing. This longing demonstrates that some things are in, and other things are out, of their proper order. 

Jesus tells us today in Matthews Gospel that it is precisely at that moment when we find out how our life is to be ordered that it becomes like that pearl of great price — that thing that surpasses the value of anything else. Here’s the beauty of it as well. When our lives are ordered in this way — towards God, and towards what God wants for us — it does not diminish those other things that we enjoy; in fact, it enhances them. When our lives are ordered towards the Giver of the pearl of great price, we realize that everything else that touches our lives is a reflection of His love for us. We are then free to love the people, places, and things that surround us because they all become gifts from God himself.

Armed with this viewpoint, go back into that meditation where you are to take King Solomon’s place and God offers you, without reservation, anything your heart desires most. What would you choose?

Readings for Sunday, July 26, 2020