Happy Those Who Walk with the Lord
Solomon was a very young man – perhaps only 19 or 20 – when he became king. There could be little doubt that ‘the weight of too much dignity’ fell heavy on his mind and heart. It is believed that our dreams often reflect our waking thoughts and concerns. So it no surprise that in his dream God told Solomon to ask for something and it will be given to him. Despite his youth, Solomon wisely responded: ”Give your servant an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.”
The Lord was so pleased with this answer that Solomon was given a very wise and understanding heart. He was also endowed with riches and glory that he hadn’t asked for and a long life like his father, David’s. As we shall read in the following verses, Solomon certainly exhibited all the best gifts God had given him.
This is a fitting culmination of Interfaith Harmony Week (February 1 -7, 2020). Doctor Albert Sweitzer wrote:
“Just as white light consists of colored rays, so ‘reverence for life’ contains all components of ethics: love, kindliness, sympathy, empathy, peacefulness and power to forgive… Until human beings extend their circle of compassion to all living things, they will not find peace themselves. The ethic ‘reverence for life’ is the ethic of Love widened into universality.”
Mark’s Gospel today tells us that Jesus has those same gifts given to Solomon and taught by Albert Sweitzer. When the apostles returned to Jesus to relate all that they had done, Jesus invited them to go with him to “an out-of-the-way-place and rest awhile.” Jesus and the apostles got into the boat and went off “to a deserted place.” However, people saw them leaving and “hastened on foot to the place, arriving ahead of them.” So much for the solitude they sought!
“Upon disembarking from the boat, Jesus saw a vast crowd. He pitied them for they were like sheep without a shepherd.” In that moment Jesus exhibited all the best gifts he had been given. One cannot be moved to pity without sympathy and empathy, love and kindness. Then Jesus began to teach them, bringing them the comfort and love of the Father that he came to teach.
May we pray for courage to meet the challenges of our lives with wisdom of Solomon and the equanimity of Jesus, always looking for the good in others and the good we can do in the world and for one another. May the Passion of Jesus be ever in our hearts.