SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A.
30th July 2023
1 Kings 3:5,7-12; Romans 8:28-30; Matthew 13:44-52.
Today, the prayer of King Solomon has something to teach us about approach to life in moments of crisis and confusion. According to the first reading of today, the Lord asked Solomon to make a request and he chose the gift of wisdom. He did not ask for power and wealth as expected from a king surrounded by enemies. This pleased the Lord and he granted Solomon’s wish beyond his imagination. Solomon chose wisdom because he was looking at the bigger picture. Solomon said of himself: ‘I am a very young man, unskilled in leadership. Your servant finds himself in the midst of this people of yours that you have chosen, a people so many its number cannot be counted or reckoned’. Wisdom encompasses everything a human being ever needs. By choosing wisdom he asked for everything necessary to enable him lead the people of God! The bigger picture gives us a view of all that is involved.
In moments of crisis or confusion, the tendency is to concentrate on the particulars. We complain about the annoying husband or wife, kids, a colleague at work or that neighbour. Oftentimes when we pray with those particulars in mind, it turns our prayer into a nuisance. God answers prayers and not complaints! Solomon prayed, he did not complain. He is like the man in the gospel who found a treasure buried in the field, he hides it again and went off sells everything he owns and buys the field. He did not ask God to transform the people, rather he prayer to be transformed in order to lead the people. When our prayers are guided by the vision of the bigger picture, we pray to God to help us to be good persons. A good person can cope with any kind of situation. When we decide to be good that God turns everything to our advantage as mentioned in the second reading.
The bigger picture is ‘… like a dragnet cast into the sea that brings in a haul of all kinds. When it is full, the fishermen haul it ashore; then, sitting down, they collect the good ones in a basket and throw away those that are no use.’ The bigger picture will give us the opportunity to see all reality at once and decide carefully.
Fr Anthony Ekpunobi, CM.