WHEN GOD ASKS - WHAT DO YOU WANT?

Hi everyone, here's my homily for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time - July 30, 2017.  The readings for today can be found at:  http://usccb.org/bible/readings/073017.cfm
Thanks as always for reading, sharing and commenting on this blog.  Grateful for all your support and interest.  Have a great week - God Bless - Fr Jim

HOMILY:
Imagine you were having a dream, and in that dream, God appears, saying to you Ask something of me and I will give it to you...

What would come to your mind?

Sit with that for a second.

If you heard the first reading today - we know what the right answer is... right? The answer we’re supposed to give. The selfless, sacrificial one... that makes us feel a bit embarrassed over the things that we might feel is a little less important as we hear King Solomon’s beautiful answer - for an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right and wrong . We hear that and it’s like we start to immediately judge ourselves harshly and put our lists aside saying "YEAH US TOO!" knowing that’s the thing we should be praying for. More than likely, that’s there too... When we hear that, we know that’s what should be what we’re praying for, asking God for. But there’s so many other things that come to mind.

Our families...

Our friends...

Someone who’s sick.

Someone who’s died.

That loved one who is going through a painful divorce that we don’t know what we can do to help them.

The other one who has a doctors appointment this week that we’re all worried about...

The kids - whether they’re 2 or 42 - who you never stop hoping for their health and happiness...

The things that stress us...

The things that make us afraid...

Ask something of me and I will give it to you...

Where do I even begin?

Just sitting with that question myself, my own personal lists of intentions - people, things, fears, concerns - as well as hopes and dreams go all over the place. I hope that our campus ministry has a really successful year... I hope so and so who I think is discerning the priesthood is being called and that I can help him make that step.... I hope that the wall in front of the Newman Center that crumbled we’re able to get fixed in time for the new school year (and that it’s not too expensive). I pray for so and so who’s dying - and I’m not sure what to pray for them.

My prayers are an "A.D.D." nightmare that goes from one part where I feel almost like I’m asking for certain wishes to a heavenly genie to a heartfelt prayer.

And I’m sure I’m not alone like that.

Which is why perhaps we can go back to that first reading and not look at Solomon with envy or the "know it all" teachers pet sitting in the front row trying to be impressive with the spot on perfect answer and instead see why it actually is the spot on perfect answer.

When Solomon asks for an understanding heart - which can also be translated from Hebrew to mean a listening heart - He’s doing so out of necessity. He recognizes the responsibilities, the stresses, the challenges, the tasks that he’s being entrusted with in becoming King of Israel. More than likely he went to bed that evening with many things that were weighing him down... not the least of which was his own insecurities (he says I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act) Just sitting with that, my image of this regal, aloof king melt away and I see this young guy, called into this role, not quite sure what to do next. So he asks the one who he trusts, who he knows – the one who has given him everything to equip him - to strengthen him - to guide him. To temper those moments when his instincts are kicking in telling him to do something impetuous. To be attentive to someone he might have dismissed who could open his mind to a new (and even better) answer to a problem that he is struggling with. To not allow the things out of his control be things he obsesses over and begins to view as his responsibility. To simply recognize that nothing he has, nothing he does, no one in his life means more than the Lord God.

That’s the treasure - the pearl that Jesus is talking about in the Gospel. Once we’ve come to recognize who God is... who we are - it has to reshape our priorities so that nothing that has happened or will happen has the potential of us losing that focus on the Lord.

Easier said then done. For most of us, each year, each month, each week, each day (each hour??) Brings it’s own emotional roller coaster of ups and downs that seem to renumber what is the most important thing, what is the thing we’re most worried about, what is the thing we need answered here and now.

The wisdom of King Solomon, tells us that if we ask for, seek and pursue that single minded, humble, generous heart attuned to the Lord - we will withstand whatever those extremes might be, because we will never lose sight of being held safely in the hands of the one who made us, loves us, and wants to walk with us here and now and for all eternity.

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