Homily – July 26, 2020

In our first reading we hear of young king Solomon and his encounter with God. God made Solomon an unbelievable offer, ‘Ask what I should give you.’ What if God made you that promise –ask what I should give you. What would ask for – what do you most want?

Young Solomon knew his limitations and his problems. He had an older brother who should have been made king but was passed over by King David. Solomon wasn’t sure of the loyalty of his generals and advisors. In the face of the many things Solomon could have requested he humbly asked for an understanding mind, another translation is a listening heart. He asks for listening heart so that he is able to discern between good and evil. This young king wasn’t interested in wealth and power and expanding his empire. He just wanted to be a good ruler blessed with a listening heart to hear the needs and the hurts of the people and do what was right and just for those God called him to lead.

A listening heart to help him to know what is best for the people, especially the poor, the widows, the orphans. A listening heart to appreciate the struggles of the poorest of his people. A listening heart to grasp what was right and what was wrong. This young and inexperienced king knew in his heart that great wealth and power were not what he needed to govern God’s great people. A listening heart, this was Solomon’s pearl of great price.

Through the ages writers and thinkers claimed that the root desires of the human heart are the pride of power – think of the mess the supposedly most powerful man of the most powerful nation in the world has created for his own people, the mess he has created for the family of nations.

The second driving force of the human heart is the accumulation of wealth, greed is good. The third driving force is the unbridled experience of pleasure. Experience shows us time and time again that all these drives put us on a one way street to nowhere. Powerful people come and go, wealth is accumulated and lost and even the most intense of pleasures become jaded.

We’ve all heard people say, ‘I’d give anything for… good health, a better job, a mortgage paid – whatever. They are searching for their hidden treasure, their pearl of great price.

Think on this for a moment. We are God’s hidden treasure, God’s pearl of great price. When God found us God bought us, not with gold or silver but with the precious blood of Jesus.

What is the hidden treasure we seek, what is our pearl of great price? Could it be in the eureka experience of realizing ‘not that we’ve found God but that God first found us’. Grasping such a wonder we are willing to let go of everything that we thought of importance and value and gladly respond to God’s loving movements in our lives. The farmer and the merchant first had to find the hidden treasure, the pearl and then sell everything to purchase then. It was the finding that started the whole process. It is our finding, our grasping the wonder of John’s teaching when he tells us, this is the wonder, this is the treasure, this is the pearl, not that we love God but that God first love us and sent his son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.’

As we continue this Mass we can pray for ourselves and for each other that we be blessed, as Solomon was, with a listening heart, a heart that listens to God’s word, a listening heart that hears the cry of the poor and the hurts of family and friends.