With King David old and coming to the end of his life, he promises to confer his throne on Solomon, the son he had with Bathsheba. Solomon is anointed king and his father David dies soon afterwards. In today’s reading from the Book of Kings the young king Solomon is praying and God appears to him in a dream and says “Ask what I shall give you.” In reply Solomon says “Give your servant an understanding mind to govern your people that I may discern between good and evil.” God is pleased with his request and gives him what he asked for: an understanding and wise heart, a heart so wise and understanding that “none like you have been before and none like you shall arise after you.” Solomon knows that the most important thing that he had to do was to rule wisely and well. By the end of his reign, however, Solomon had begun to fail in his fidelity to the covenant, and the collapse of the once-proud empire was the result, but that is another story.
Solomon’s priorities and God’s priorities were the same; the well-being of the people. We can link this reading with the two parables in today’s Gospel. The parable of the treasure in the field and the parable of the merchant in search of fine pearls. Their priority meant they were prepared to sell everything in order to obtain what was their sole focus. What do we lay aside in order to focus on the one thing necessary to us?
What are the priorities that we live by? Some have as their priorities, the acquisition of wealth, comfort or security. Some people’s lives are directed by the love of God and neighbour. All of us need to be aware what takes up our time and effort. What priorities do we have? This does not just apply to our personal and family life. It also is necessary to think about our priorities as the family of St Thomas of Canterbury. If wisdom means having the right priorities and knowing how to apply those priorities to everyday life then we need to ask ourselves and more importantly ask God what does he want us to make as our priorities as a parish family.
At the Parish Pastoral Council that met (via the internet) last Monday we were looking at parish priorities. There are obviously ones of the care of the fabric of the church, repairs (roof and lift) and renovation (Narthex, kneelers and ramp and the sign outside the Church). But more important, what about the living stone? Where is God asking us to place our priorities regarding the care of his people? Two were discussed on Monday. The first was Adult formation or Adult catechesis. The new Directory on Catechesis has just been published by the Vatican says, “Adult catechesis, as emphasised in 1997, remains the chief form of catechesis. ‘Adult catechesis, since it deals with persons who are capable of an adherence that is fully responsible, must be considered the chief form of catechesis. All the other forms, which are indeed always necessary, are in some way oriented to it.’ This implies that the catechesis of other age groups should have it for a point of reference.” We need to explore how we help one another grow in faith.
The second was what are we doing to attend to the needs of our young people?
Let us ask for the gift of wisdom so that we as a parish can discern our priorities.