Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sermon Notes: Solomon's Wisdom

Reflection for Mass, 8:30 am
St. Vincent de Paul Parish
Wed 5th Week of Ordinary Time
Feb. 12, 2014

Sheba’s Breathe is taken away: “When the queen of Sheba witnessed Solomon’s great wisdom, the palace he had built, the food at his table, the seating of his ministers, the attendance and garb of his waiters, his banquet service, and the burnt offerings he offered in the temple of the LORD, she was breathless.”[1]

Solomon’s Wisdom: Sheba was left breathless, not because of the impressive nature of his kingdom there in Jerusalem, but because of his wisdom. What, then, is wisdom, and why is Solomon seen as such a wise man?

Wisdom: Wisdom is one of the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, Solomon himself prayed for this gift as we heard this past Saturday: “Give your servant, therefore, an understanding [and wise] heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.”[2] Solomon asked for the gift of wisdom because he knew that wisdom consisted in being able to see to the core of an issue. He knew that wisdom allows one to consider the highest cause or most important factor.[3] In Solomon’s case, he knew that God must come first, particularly when ruling over God’s people. So he built the Temple where due sacrifice may be offered.[4]

Order and Peace: The effect of such wisdom is that now order can be established. In Solomon’s case, he was able to order his kingdom around the Temple, i.e. around God. Such wisdom and order bear the fruit of peace, which Solomon certainly experienced during his reign, or at least the first half of it. Thus in the Tradition the gift of wisdom has always been associated with the beatitude: “Blessed are the peacemakers…” Peacemakers are such because they are wise, seeing to the heart of the issue at hand and establishing order accordingly, for peace consists in the tranquility of order.[5]

The Wiseman, child of God: In our own lives, we know people who have this gift. When we talk to them about our problems or difficulties, they are able to see to the heart of the situation and give us advice accordingly. Here we think of parents, grandparents, and even sometimes children. It is amazing how often we hear such wise things said by our children. While they often know not what they are saying, I think this phenomena captures the true nature of this gift. For the gift of Wisdom makes us peacemakers, who, as the beatitude says, are the children of God.[6] The simplicity of a child’s vision is often quite wise. Let us pray for this gift of wisdom that we might be children of God bringing peace and order to a troubled world.

[1] 1 Kgs 10: 4-5
[2] 1 Kgs 3:4-13:
[3] ST II-II q. 45 a. 1
[4] 1 Kgs 8:1-7, 9-13
[5] ST II-II q. 45 a. 6, citing St. Augustine’s The City of God
[6] Cf. Matt 5:1-10

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