Though they lived approximately one thousand years apart, both Solomon and Jesus come to serve the people whom God has chosen, a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted.
By coincidence, both the first reading and the Gospel use the word “vast” to describe the people who relied on Solomon and Jesus. These two readings show some similarities between the reign of Solomon and the life of Jesus. More importantly, they show the consistency and generosity of God. Despite our constant failure as God’s people, God never abandons us, nor does God forsake the promises made to the people. When the people needed a king, God gave them Solomon. When the people needed a Savior, God sent Jesus, a king who would reconcile God and the people.
An understanding heart is not one to underestimate. The wisdom it provides can be life-giving. Jesus came that we might have life – eternal life – and that we might also share the good news of that eternal life with others. To do that, we can ask, as Solomon did, for our own heart of understanding - one that is moved with pity for those in need and capable of both leading and being a servant to others.
There are two options for today’s Eucharist. Today is the memorial of St. Jerome Emiliani as well as the Memorial of St. Josephine Bahkita. Both individuals possessed a heart of understanding. St. Jerome used his to help the many orphans that populated the streets of 16th century Venice. St. Josephine was a slave who had been trafficked and was purchased by the Italian Consul and taken to Italy to serve as a nanny. She sought baptism and eventually joined a religious community of women. She served that community for twenty-five years and was beloved for her joyful nature and melodic voice. They stand as examples of what an understanding heart can accomplish.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator