Reflection for the 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time.

 

 

From: The Benedictine Abbey of Christ in the Desert.(https://christdesert.org)

 

Image result for Solomons dream

 

FIRST READING 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12

The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night. God said, Ask something of me and I will give it to you. Solomon answered: O LORD, my God, you have made me, your servant, king to succeed my father David; but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act. I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong. For who is able to govern this vast people of yours? The LORD was pleased that Solomon made this request. So God said to him: Because you have asked for this-not for a long life for yourself, nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies, but for understanding so that you may know what is right-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.

SECOND READING Romans 8:28-30

Brothers and sisters: We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified.

GOSPEL Matthew 13:44-52

Jesus said to his disciples: The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away. Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Do you understand all these things? They answered, Yes. And he replied, then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.

My sisters and brothers in the Lord,

The Kingdom of Heaven! Today the Gospel of Matthew gives us a small understanding about the Kingdom of Heaven. Most of us today don’t think in terms of kingdoms, but we could rephrase the Kingdom of Heaven as all who belong the Lord. It is we who form one people, one grouping, one body in Christ. Individualism has dominated so much of our thinking, yet our Scriptures are clear: we go to the Father as a people, as a community of people, not just as individuals.

Our first reading today is from the First Book of Kings. In this passage, King Solomon asks for wisdom in order to be able to guide the people of his kingdom. The surprise is that King Solomon does not ask for strength, nor for riches, nor for a good life for himself, nor for triumph over his enemies. Instead, King Solomon seeks wisdom to serve the people.

What do we seek in life? What do I seek in life personally? These are natural questions after hearing about King Solomon. What do I want in life: Money? Power? Control over others? Relationships? Triumph over my enemies?

Instead, the Kingdom of God is like a wonderful gift of love for all others and should overcome in us all the desire to have things just for myself or for my loved ones. Rather, the Kingdom of Heaven pushes me to want to good of the other person and the good of all.

The second reading today is from the Letter to the Romans. In this letter, we discover that “all things work for good for those who love God.” When we begin to live in God, our way of seeing the world and what happens to us and to others in a new way. Always we trust that what happens is in the hands of God. We don’t understand His ways but we understand that He loves us. God wants to conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. God will conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. This is God’s work. Our work is simply to accept God’s work within us and to allow God to work within us.

This brings us back to the Gospel today, from Saint Matthew. God brings about His Kingdom and God will take out of His Kingdom all that does not belong to His Kingdom. You and I must be purified of all that is in us and which is against the Kingdom. We should not fear this purification. Rather we should recognize that purification is necessary so that we can be with God completely and always. Let us pray for the purification! Once we see the immense value and joy of the Kingdom, it is all we shall want.

Your brother in the Lord,

Abbot Philip

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16 Responses to Reflection for the 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time.

  1. toadspittle says:

    ” For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?”</i.
    What? How "vast"? Anyone know for sure? A few hunddred thousand, Bronze-Age peasants in mud huts, maybe?

  2. Gertrude says:

    Toad my friend. Why do you bother commenting? Just asking.

  3. johnhenrycn says:

    Well I don’t *like* his comments either, although I like him. Just wish he’d lay off the Spanish plonk until he’s done commenting for the day. I think he comments here because he knows he’s with friends, and sometimes talking with his dogs is not enough exercise for his brain, although it usually is.

  4. toadspittle says:

    .Toad my friend. Why do you bother commenting? Just asking.”
    A very good question, that I task myself with almost daily, Gertrude. I just feel it’s necessary to keep harping boringly on. Near sinful not to do so , in fact. A gross deleriction of
    duty ( possibly Kantian)
    Why?
    I think it’s because I feel that “faith,” alone is never a reasonable option in a “rational” world. And, as a child, I was indictrinated with many odd notions such as a belief in Limbo, eternal hellfire, and anti-semiticism.
    As were you, weren’t you? . We have both learned to laugh it off with old age, no doubt, but the scars remain.
    So, I may be quite wrong, of course, (Pascal would have agreed) but my conscience won’t let me let go of my reasoning along “Enlighternment” lines. Regardless of what Schopenhauer says.
    My “saints” are Voltiare, Montaigne, Hume, Kant, Spinosa, Russell, Darwin, Huxley, Wittgenstein, and suchlike “sceptics,”
    All absolutely fallinble, and all – possibly – utterly wrong….But thought-provoking. And they seem to me to make more sense than anything else I’ve heard so far.
    Well, you did ask.

    …glad JH dislikes my comments. Or else, Id have to make them “nicer”.

  5. toadspittle says:

    “I think (Toad) comments here because he knows he’s with friends, and sometimes talking with his dogs is not enough exercise for his brain, “
    Absolutely true, JH.
    My dogs are far too accepting of everything I tell them. (not that they always pay much attention)
    …But no awkward questions. So, no fun there. Which is where CP&S comes in.
    But the dogs are, luckily, not made in the image of God, so they are expendable.
    No Hell for them. Nor Heaven.
    … A mixed blessing, I suppose.

  6. johnhenrycn says:

    “…anti-semiticism…”

    “…as a child, I was indictrinated…”

    “…All absolutely fallinble…

    Where is John Kehoe when we need a law clerk to edit our factums and briefs?

  7. johnhenrycn says:

    Toad (22:32) unfairly abbreviates my last sentence @18:45 to give passersby the idea he and I are sympatico regarding his relationship with dogs, suggesting that I think he’s superior to them when it comes to brainpower, which I never said. That’s okay, but I’m reminded to recommend to him – I think I may already done a year or two ago, but I’m not sure – Brian Sewell’s “Peripheral Autobiography” Sleeping With Dogs, which I gave to my sister, another dog lover, last year.

  8. toadspittle says:

    Toad could certainly use some help with editing these days. The errors are shameful, and I’m duly ashamed. Due to poor vision, even more than carelessness.
    If I quit, that will be the reason.
    I’ve never learned to type properly in the first place, and now it’s coming back to bite me.
    …Sewell was very funny.

  9. kathleen says:

    Toad @ 22:18 yesterday

    And, as a child, I was indoctrinated with many odd notions such as a belief in Limbo, eternal hellfire, and anti-semiticism.

    That’s one and a half out of three RIGHT. Not bad for a toad 😉.

    Limbo has never been a doctrine of the Church. (Nor has it ever been fully debunked, mind you, but through hope in God’s loving Mercy, we place the fate of these innocent infants He created into His Holy Hands.)
    I’m sure you were taught that Limbo was only ever a theological theory, owing to a lack of scriptural teaching on the fate of unbaptised babies that die… but I expect you were not paying attention, as usual.

    Eternal hellfire is a doctrine of the Church. You may not like the sound of it (naturally: no one does) but Our Lord’s love for Mankind and His frequent teachings of its existence was to warn us so that we do not end up there, excluded from the Presence of God.
    For as we have said dozens of times before on these pages, through bad and evil CHOICES, and by our own free will, that men make throughout their lives, thus becoming enemies of God (and all that is good, holy and virtuous), Hell becomes the only place left open for them. A damned soul, full of hate for God at the end if his/her life, would then actually prefer to be in Hell (rather than Heaven)… extraordinary as that might sound!

    Anti-semiticism is not a Catholic teaching. Whoever taught you to think that way, was wrong.
    It is true that there have been harsh papal condemnations towards certain “perfidious Jews” who used cunning methods to infiltrate and attack the Church since its initiation, but this was never intended to include the whole Jewish race, the majority who were (and are today) totally innocent of such crimes. Those who used this above as an excuse to display anti-Semitic views were not obeying Church teaching. We recognise the Jews as “our older brothers in the Faith”. All the early Christians, plus the Holy Family, the Apostles and Our Lord’s Disciples were from the Jewish race… May we never forget that.

  10. toadspittle says:

    “I’m sure you were taught that Limbo was only ever a theological theory,”
    And I’m sure I wasn’t. Let’s ask Gertrude what she was taught on this. But it was a long time ago, for sure.
    “It is true that there have been harsh papal condemnations towards certain “perfidious Jews” who used cunning methods to infiltrate and attack the Church since its initiation,”
    Such as stealing Christian babies to use in their fiendish Jewish rituals.
    I strongly doubt that the poor old Jews have ever used any methods at all “…to infiltrate and attack the Church ..” and thus get themselves even more persecuted by Christiian mobs than they already were.
    And to state, as Kathleen has, that Jews ever did use such cunning methods – is exactly the sort of vicious drivel I was taught at school. So maybe that “ptoves” it.
    We can ask Gertrude as well if she was taught such stuff back then.
    Maybe she wasn’t. I hoe not.

  11. kathleen says:

    Don’t be silly, Toad – you are just trying to be provocative now. That false rumour about “Jewish rituals” is exactly the sort of thing propagandists promoted to spread hatred, as in Hitler’s Third Reich.

    There are certainly “perfidious Jews”… Hollywood abounds in them nowadays. But there are also perfidious Muslims, Protestants, lots of atheists of various stripes, etc., … and plenty of perfidious so-called Catholics (like the smarmy Fr James Martin SJ) who undermine the Church from within! In fact this latter group is the most harmful of all to the souls of men.

    And how about perfidious toads and Kehoes whose own anti-Catholic complex colour all their comments on CP&S ?

  12. toadspittle says:

    “Don’t be silly, Toad – you are just trying to be provocative now.”
    No, I’m not – Kathleen. Just give me one documented example from history of “perfidious Jews” using “cunning methods to infiltrate and attack the Church since its initiation.”
    Just one.
    That was your phrase, as you will recall.

  13. toadspittle says:

    “There are certainly “perfidious Jews”… Hollywood abounds in them nowadays. “
    Name one, Kathleen. Just one. And then tell us what’s perfidious about him or her.
    (Mel Gibson doesn’t count – he’s a perfidious Catholic.)

    I must say, despite how much we have learned of one another over the centuries, your attitude on this subjet saddens, and even somewhat surprises me. You are parroting the just the kind of undocumented, unsubstantiated, insinuating nastiness I was solemnly indoctrinated with at Catholic (Gunnersbury Grammar, Chiswick ) school in the ’50’s. And which is clearly anti-semitic. Served up to us by a priest called Cox, a convert. (Slippery Sid, we called him)

    And I’d still like to hear Gerturde’s take on this. Who is, I gather, almost as ancient as I am, and may have interesting observations to make. But maybe convent schools were different.

  14. kathleen says:

    Well, old hypocrite, Toad – you are a fine one to talk like that ^ above!

    Your cutting insults at everyone who opens their mouth here, plus your own “undocumented, unsubstantiated, insinuating nasttiness” at people’s faith, beliefs, and practices on CP&S, literally everything we hold in high regard, makes your lashing out at my comment, when I was purposely USING YOUR OWN TYPE OF LANGUAGE to answer your comment (didn’t you realise?) all the more hilarious. In fact our own GC was grossly insulted by you just the other day – (Heaven knows how your comment got through Moderation!) – or are you so thick-skinned that you never even noticed?

    FYI, I am not in the least anti-Semitic. (As you seem to have forgotten, I once mentioned how well we were treated by kind, hospitable Israeli friends on a memorable visit to the Holy Land some years ago.) My use of the word “perfidious” appears to have got your goat, but I have already stated that perfidious types abound in all religions… and, of course, in all races, cultures and classes of people. Original sin, and human weakness, is the causation!

    And no, I’m not going to do your homework for you again (your request @ 9:43). A Google search will give you your information.
    Enough said… after a long and very busy day caring for a houseful of youngsters and kiddies 😴.

  15. toadspittle says:

    “A Google search will give you your information.”
    OK, Kathleen, what shall I enter – “Perfidious Jews currrently in Hollywood”?
    I will try that.

  16. toadspittle says:

    You were quite right (of course) Kathleen. I googled what you suggested – and here’s what I got.

    http://www.aish.com/ci/s/48906052.html
    (assumiing the link works)

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