30 July 2017
1 Kings 3:5, 7-12
The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, ‘Ask what you would like me to give you.’ Solomon replied, ‘O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in succession to David my father. But 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. Give your servant a heart to understand how to discern between good and evil, for who could govern this people of yours that is so great?’ It pleased the Lord that Solomon should have asked for this. ‘Since you have asked for this’ the Lord said ‘and not asked for long life for yourself or riches or the lives of your enemies, but have asked for a discerning judgement for yourself, here and now I do what you ask. I give you a heart wise and shrewd as none before you has had and none will have after you.’
We know that by turning everything to their good, God co-operates with all those who love him, with all those he has called according to his purpose. They are the ones he chose specially long ago and intended to become true images of his Son, so that his Son might be the eldest of many brothers. He called those he intended for this; those he called he justified, and with those he justified he shared his glory.
Jesus said to the crowds, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.
‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.
‘Again, the kingdom of heaven 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. This is how it will be at the end of time: the angels will appear and separate the wicked from the just to throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.
‘Have you understood all this?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Well then, every scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom things both new and old.’
One of great value
A luxury branded handbag has great quality and is really expensive to buy. The material is of premium quality, the workmanship requires skilled labour and we all hope it almost lasts forever for the price that we pay. A similar bag, designed and made using machines, with rough stitches and perhaps made of inferior quality is sold at a much cheaper price, but it still doesn’t look too shabby when worn with the right dress. Which is of greater value to you?
In today’s first reading, Solomon is the rightful successor as King — he has the glories and luxuries of being king on an earthly kingdom. However, when he spoke to the Lord in his dream, and when offered the ‘premium’ opportunity to ask freely from the Lord, he humbled himself as a servant to the Lord. The humility to ask for discernment between good and evil so he will be a king that has values, and not to be one who chases the riches and victories of wars.
When we are able to open our hearts to be of one spirit with the Lord, we will begin to see the values in the kingdom of Heaven and will do anything to attain them. What I would like to share is that, we face very different situations in our lives, all kinds of struggles that could put our emotions and spirit down, but we also experience the joys and love of those around us. By being conscious of our Lord’s presence, we always seek for the Kingdom in our everyday lives, and in the Spirit, we are able to point out what is most valuable as we face our issues daily. Do we walk past it and wait for something easier to deal with? Or do we drop everything to achieve what matters most to us? What, and who, do we actually value?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Austin Leong)
Prayer: O loving Lord, open our hearts, humble our minds, so that we pray and ask for valuable gifts that make you proud, so that we are able to discern between good and evil.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Almighty Father, for all the wisdom that you have graced us with. We will continue to use our wisdom to better the lives of those unfortunate ones.