“Ask what you would like me to give you” God asking Solomon to choose anything in the world.. anything.. I wonder what you would ask for; not “if” God asks but “when” God asks..? & Solomon asked for something worth far more than anything the world could offer “give your servant a heart to understand how to discern between good & evil”.. ..he wanted a heart of sincerity.. a heart to know how to make good choices in life & in faith..
“..ask what you would like me to give you..” ;Lord have mercy “..since you have not asked for long life or riches or the lives of your enemies..” ;Christ have mercy “..here & now I do what you ask.. a heart wise & shrewd..” ;Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..maybe I like to challenge the theology of St Matthew’s gospel because, before becoming a monk 40yrs ago, I was a Quantity Surveyor; my profession involved writing bills of quantities; you might call them construction gospels, which described in meticulous detail, every item, brick tile light fitting you wanted the builder to price; & if you didn’t describe it in exact detail, he would come back challengingly & seek financial compensation between what you initially described & what you actually wanted. So I enjoy reading between the lines with Matthew; it’s called lectio divina; divine reading.. pondering on what is said, & what is not said but what is juicily relevant. Take first of our 3 parables; simple two lines cut & dried “do you understand it?” & they said “yes”.. however treasure trove found by an amateur with metal detector finds hoard of medieval coins potentially worth millions & what does he do?..& what would you do? first reaction “he hides it again” keeps it secret; no wonder “he goes off happy” he approaches farmer to ask to buy the field; wise farmer knows price per acre for arable land; £6,000 per acre. No prospect of planning permission to sell it to Persimmon for 10 times as much, sells it to dishonest amateur, unaware of its real value & the someone, “someone” we might know very well, buys it & makes a killing on it.. shady twilight existence; world of brown envelopes, confidentially clauses & pre-nuptial agreements; familiar territory for some of us or by relationship. second parable of merchant, dealer in pearls; finds one of great value & sells family silver to buy it; & once he owns possesses it, what does he do with it do you think?.. puts it in a safe deposit box in local bank, looks at it monthly, bringing him contentment; one day he will bring it out & sell it for a much larger fortune than he bought it for.. remains new in mint condition never been part of a necklace to give joy/pleasure to wearer & those who see it. third story of fisherman; highly respected professional in footsteps of Simon & Andrew, James & John; however notice they used a dragnet rather than a seine net. If you visit Tweedmouth, Berwick on Tweed, you can see how some salmon fishermen still do it as Simon & Andrew did it, off beach; row out net in large arc with floats on its top, weights holding it down; back on shore crew gradually haul in net until moment of reckoning & the last folds of huge net is brought out of water full of large salmon; however a dragnet is heavy/cumbersome & is literally dragged along sea bed, causing devastation, rips of crustaceans, damages coral, destroys habitat for marine life; underwater deforestation, leaving lasting barrenness infertility..how many victims do you know? not in Filey but in your own home & in my community, irreversibly damaged, taking lifetime to recover.. ” have you understood all this?” “yes” they said.. I wonder?..& then the second felony; they collect in a basket all good fish & ”throw away those that are no use” frightening separatism, the neat/tidy dualism of early Church; us & them, practising/non-practising, traditionalists/charismatics.. the insiders, treasure/pearls kept affirmed nurtured, & the outsider, common pearl, mackerel not carefully returned to wild to grow on, but thrown away; darnel paste pearls sprats too common worthless; how many victims do you know?.. labelled wicked failure a fake copy.. “have you understood all this?” & the trite easy “yes” is suddenly sounding hollow shallow, rather dated, needing time & prayer to consider ponder & evaluate.. authentic wisdom in faith honours the question mark “have you understood all this?” “we don’t know”.. as a Quantity Surveyor will tell you “the truth is in the detail” three short parables fairy stories, & now three windows into your real life & faith July 2020, not for practising Catholics but for disciples of the kingdom.. a homily boring interesting or life changing?.. “ask what you would like me to give you”.. & the song on R2 as I finished this homily? ..”born free”.. [17th Sun Yr A Mt 13; 44-52]