Let us seek Wisdom for God’s Kingdom
Readings: 1st: I Kg 3: 5. 7-12; Ps: 118; 2nd: Rom 8, 28-30; Gos: Mt 13, 44-52
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment. He is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico; the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. For more details and comments contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
On this 17th Sunday of ordinary time, 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.
Today’s first reading began in a very interesting way. If you were Solomon what would you ask for? I guess, some of us would ask for more cars, houses, shoes, foods, money, power, children and much more! On the contrary, Solomon asked for wisdom for the benefit of both his kingdom and God’s kingdom. He begged God to give him understanding: “Give your servant a heart to understand how to discern between good and evil.”
An understanding heart is God’s gift (Prov 2:6). We need it every day, and in all aspects of our life (family, work, studies, and in all life’s decisions) in order to succeed. So, the Apostle James encourages us: “If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously…and it will be given to you (Jas 1:5). Wisdom was given to Solomon, because he asked for it. However, God expects us to ask wisely, reasonably and not selfishly.
In the second reading, Paul reminds us that: “In everything, God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.” That is, that God is leading us through the storms of life towards our home, and towards his kingdom. Carefully, He orders all the events of our lives in order to lead us there. This is what we call providence. Simply put, that God’s powerful hand is active in all the circumstances of our lives.
“Everything” is utterly inclusive and comprehensive. It has no qualifications or limits. Therefore, neither this verse nor its context allows for restrictions or conditions. “All things” is inclusive in the fullest possible sense. It includes my present trouble, my heavy heart, my poverty, my richness, my joblessness, my success and failure, my weakness and strength, as well as my sickness and good health. Indeed, “everything” and nothing excluded!
Nothing exists or occurs in heaven or on earth without the knowledge of God. By saying that “all things work together for us,” Paul assures us that there is no discord in God’s providence. This is especially, for those who through their faith in Christ have wisely become God’s friends. He also assures us that, nothing can ultimately work against those whom God has chosen and predestined for his Kingdom. Those, who walk faithfully with him.
Today’s gospel is a continuation of Jesus’ use of parables to teach us about the Kingdom of God. Therefore, it is a call to be as wise as Solomon. Without wisdom, we can neither understand the parables of Christ, nor seek the kingdom of God. Today’s good news is also a call to value what is most precious to us, and for which God has chosen us.
Today’s parables are intended to instruct us to prefer the kingdom of heaven to this world, and to ensure that nothing prevents us from entering into it. Through these parables, Christ reminds us of the excellence and beauty of eternal life. The kingdom of God is indeed a treasure hidden from the wise of this world.
Only those who are wise according to God’s standard look for it, and find it. To find it, we must first value it, and when we have found it, we must hide it in our hearts. Therefore, let us ask God for understanding and wisdom as Solomon did, so that we may be wise enough to discern what is good for us, and to make God’s kingdom our priority.
Peace be with you all!