17th Sunday in Ordinary Time A20
I was preaching at a 3rd grade children’s Mass many years ago. I asked a simple question to which I expected an equally simple reply: If you were granted one wish, what would it be? After getting those expected simple replies such as a new bike, good grades, longer recesses, or pizza, one young girl raised her hand and said, “A Maserati!” Did she even know what a Maserati was? The congregation had a good laugh when I repeated her answer. Her parents slid down in their pew and covered their faces, wishing they could hide.
In the first reading Solomon is granted a guaranteed wish from God. After considering his position as king, his age, not knowing how to act, and the fact that the chosen people of God are too numerous to count, he makes known his desire: “an understanding heart to judge your people and distinguish right from wrong”.
His answer somewhat surprises and pleases God who expected him to ask for things for himself: a long life, riches or the life of his enemies or a expensive chariot that be the envy of his neighboring kings. But he asks for something that would better aid the people he was put over to rule, to be of service to them rather than to take care of what would benefit himself, his power or safety.
A little over 3 months from now, we will elect our leaders on a national and local level to represent us.
I wonder how many of them would ask for an understanding heart, a wise heart, to help them distinguish right from wrong or to better serve the common good.
What do we wish for?