Fri, 7 February 2020
(1Kgs.3:4-13; Ps.119:9-14; Mk.6:30-34)
“He began to teach them at great length.”
“Who is able to govern this vast people of yours?” Solomon asks in his plea to God for wisdom. And “upon disembarking Jesus saw a vast crowd” who “were like sheep without a shepherd,” our gospel tells us. The apostles have just “returned to Jesus and reported to Him all that they had done and what they had taught,” how they had managed to enter into His mission, and now it is time for rest in a deserted place. But the crowds hasten on foot to fill that deserted place, and what can the Lord do but feed those who thirst so much for His presence and His word.
In our first reading Solomon reflects his father David’s humble obedience before God: “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.” And so he makes the request for wisdom that so pleases the Lord. And so God grants his request: “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 equal to you,” and adds the greatest of riches and glory to it. Solomon it is who composes proverbs, who judges the most difficult of cases, who is able to answer any question – it is he who rules the great kingdom of Israel in peace. And all this he is able to do because his soul is as our psalmist’s today; he sings with him, “With all my heart I seek you; let me not stray from your commands,” and, “In the way of your decrees I rejoice, as much as in all riches.” But when the king strays, he shall lose the great promise which has been so marvelously revealed in his reign. He, too, shall show that he is but human.
Only the Lord teaches, brothers and sisters! Only the Lord is able to rule! All teaching and all governance come only from Him and not our own souls. As great as the wisdom of Solomon was, apart from the Lord it becomes nothing but vanity. For it is He who grants it to the king, according to his humble request. And it is He who can only take it back again, upon separation from Him.
Let us keep to His words, brothers and sisters. Let us remain under His Spirit’s tutelage, within the walls of Mother Church. Here we shall be taught. By His wisdom we shall come to know. In His Word we shall find the salvation of our souls. Come now to your Shepherd and hear His voice imparting the grace of wisdom, the food that sustains you, to your mind and heart. Enter into His call.
O LORD, teach your poor flock with your wisdom
that we might declare your Word to all.
YHWH, teach us at great length for we are as sheep without a shepherd, we are all as mere youths before you, children not knowing right from wrong. Only you give us an understanding heart; only by your Word are we instructed in the way we should go. How lost we would be without your command!
Show favor to your servants, LORD, for we wish to do your will. Your Son we follow to deserted places that He might satiate our thirsting souls. All the riches and glory of this world we would leave behind, if you would but give us your wisdom.
Within our hearts we treasure your promise – let us not sin against you! Let your Spirit be with us to guide us in all truth that we might accomplish your call. O may your Son feed us with His own Body and Blood! May we join our sacrifice to His and so find our lives acceptable in your sight, dearest LORD and God.