Sunday, July 30, 2017

Choosing wisely

     We all know the story of Aladdin, the genie in the bottle.  The one who found the magic lamp and rubbed its side had a genie appear and was granted a wish.  Whatever they asked for would be granted.

     Today in the Scripture reading from the first Book of Kings, we fine no magic lamp, no genie and no need to do a rubbing.  But we do have a young man, Solomon, who has been designated as king to follow his renowned father, and the Lord.  God said to Solomon, "Ask something of me and I will give it to you."  What an opportunity.  Ask anything of me and it will be granted to you.  Your wish is my command.

     What would you ask for?  How would you use this unprecedented opportunity?

     The Lord was pleased with the request of Solomon.  He had asked for "an understanding heart", for a wisdom to lead and guide God's people, to judge them wisely and to distinguish right from wrong.  Although acknowledging the fact that he was a mere youth, inexperienced and not knowing how to act as a king, he wanted what would serve him well in governing "this vast people of yours."  He asked for a gift for the greater good rather than for his own interests.  And the Lord was pleased.

     The Lord pointed out that Solomon could have asked for anything - long life, riches or dominion - but chose to ask for understanding.  God said to him:
"I do as you requested.  I give you a heart so wise
and understanding
that there has never been anyone like you up to now,
and after you there will come no one to equal you." 
His wisdom will be a benefit not only for Solomon but also for his kingdom. 

     In Jesus we are shown the way to be like Solomon, to seek the wisdom to be humble, to place our gifts at the service of others, to allow God to be Lord in our life.   And in Jesus we are gifted with wisdom and love.  For that, today, we praise our Lord.
     Yesterday I had the blessing of meeting with a Sabbatical classmate from my Sabbatical in the Fall of 1996 at the School of Applied Theology (SAT) at Berkeley, California.  His name is Romy Lazlo, and he is now the bishop of the Diocese of San Jose de Antiqua in the Philippines.

     Bishop Lazlo had lunch with our bishop in the course of his pastoral visit to one of his priests who is serving in our diocese through our International Priests Program.  It was his first trip to Western Pennsylvania.  It was good to see him again, to share some of our memories, to show him my apartment, and to receive his blessing.   May the Lord continue to bless him in his ministry.

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