We have all heard the expression ‘be careful what you wish for'...you just might get it, and have to live with the consequences.
You might also have heard the expression; ‘if you had three wishes, what would you wish for?’ But what if you had only one wish? You could not undo it with a second wish. You would have to put a bit of thought into the one thing you might truly desire that is presently beyond your reach.
For some us our single wish would be for money or a long cruise. But we know that eventually the money would run out and we can’t take it with us. We know ‘money isn’t everything’ as the saying goes, and that there are some things that money cannot buy like love and happiness. There are some non-material things worth having.
Today in the First Reading, Solomon prays for discerning judgment. For this God rewards him for wisdom beyond renown, so much so that his name is to this day associated with wisdom above all others. When I was growing up with all my brothers and sisters, petty squabbles would often arise. We might plead our grievances to Mum who unsure of what side to take in our disagreements, would exclaim, ‘oh to be like Solomon’!
The phrase ‘pearls of wisdom’ may also well originate in the Gospel today when the man buys the pearl of great price in the parable. In fact there are four images of the kingdom of heaven today – the treasure hidden in a field, the pearl, the dragnet and the householder.
We too need to pray for wisdom and discernment, between what is truly worth having and what ought to be discarded; what should take priority in my life, and what I truly can do without.
The Gospel tells us that there is something worth sacrificing everything for and that is a place in heaven.
Like anything we strive for in life, we have to be convinced that it is truly worth striving for, and that it is not impossible. We know that it requires sacrifices of us. The goal must be perceived to be worth the effort to keep us motivated and focussed especially in times of discouragement if we are to persevere.
We are challenged today to put God and His kingdom first in our lives. That is a crucial decision, not simply a consumer choice.
The goal is beyond sight, it involves an element of risk, of letting go of the safety and comfort where we are and long-ingrained habits. It involves first and foremost the renunciation of all things that impede us from the goal, and that may be for many the giving up a sinful lifestyle.
Jesus makes it quite clear that there is only one divine decision to be made on judgment day – whether we are judged to be just or wicked, and whether we therefore belong in heaven or hell. The fact that judgment day is at some distant indeterminate day must not be a source of false comfort that precludes the urgency or immediacy of a decision one way or the other.
We know there are times when we need help making up our minds or coming to the right decision. The Church in its doctrines gives us wisdom of Tradition to know and understand the truths necessary for our salvation, the Spirit gives us wisdom in the sacrament of Confirmation, and finally Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom can help us. Helpful too on a daily basis is the Serenity Prayer in which we pray for wisdom.
It can be prayed thus:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (in my life)
The Courage to change the things I can (in my life)
And the Wisdom to know the difference