Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
He sells everything he owns and buys the field
The Word This Week
What a gift it is, to be able to recognise the true value of things, and choose those which will last forever and bring us true happiness! Solomon, renowned for wisdom, is able to make the right choices when offered the chance to have anything he wants. What would we choose? The parable in the Gospel tells us that, in a sense, the choice is already before us: we can see the kingdom of heaven waiting for us: it is of greater value than anything else, and so all our hearts should be set on it. Nothing should stand in our way.
Notes for Readers
If we were offered the proverbial three wishes, would we wish for something which would only serve to help others, rather than ourselves? That is King Solomons choice in this reading: a gift of wisdom and discernment which will enable him to rule the people wisely and well. This is a wonderful story, which the reader can proclaim very effectively. Be careful to distinguish the speaking characters: without using different voices, somehow change your tone when God or Solomon are speaking. Solomons speech is in two halves: the first section is a prelude to his request (up to ...counted or reckoned); the phrase I am a very young man is particularly poignant. Perhaps make a significant pause before the actual request (Give your servant...), in order to emphasise it as a formal wish. When God replies, be sure to underline the granting of the request: here and now I do what you ask. Enjoy the solemn poetry of the last sentence!
Hidden behind this reading must be your understanding of who Paul is talking about: it is us, the baptised, that he is referring to. We have been called and justified and share in the glory of God through the mystery of Baptism. Though brief, this reading is complex: take your time. Consider especially the first line: think beforehand about the meaning of turning everything to their good. Emphasise the line true images of his Son. The final sentence is a wonderful summary of our Christian status as those who love God. Proclaim it with conviction, stressing the word glory when you get to it.