Today’s readings are about valuing our relationship with God properly. God offers us many gifts, and when we respond with appreciation of them, they become like treasure to us.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
1 Kings 3:5, 7-12
“Because you have asked for this—not for a long life for yourself, nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies, but for understanding so that you may know what is right—I do as you requested.”
Lord, I love your commands.
We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
“Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.”
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
When God made Solomon king of Israel, he didn’t just stick him on the throne and say, “Good luck!” God stood by Solomon to help him rule God’s people with as much justice and wisdom as he could. God offered Solomon any gift he wanted in the whole world, and Solomon asked for wisdom. He wanted to be a good king, like God is a good King. His unselfish response was a sign that he would be a good king.
Paul’s letter to the Romans is a reminder that, when Jesus died and rose, it was so that we could be offered eternal life. God “predestined” us by choosing us to be with him in heaven. We accept that chosenness by being as much like Jesus as we can.
Today’s Gospel showcases a few of Jesus’ quick parables about the kingdom of heaven. God’s kingdom, which is both here on earth because God is our king here, and in heaven because God is king there, too, is the most valuable thing we could possibly ever have. Jesus says that it’s like a treasure: buried treasure in a field, a pearl of great price, or a net full of fish. All of them are things that people had to look for, and when they found them, they realized what they were worth. Jesus also says that people who understand the kingdom of heaven are like people who treasure the old and the new.
If, like Solomon, God offered you any gift in the world, what would you choose? Would it be something for yourself, or something that would help others?
You might have learned about “predestination” in history class if you’ve studied the Protestant Reformation. Some Protestants (but certainly not all) believe that before we were even born, God already decided which of us would go to heaven, and who would go to hell–before we even had an opportunity to make any choices for ourselves. Catholics reject this entirely. We believe that God wants everyone in heaven, but it’s up to us to choose it with our lives. What do you think about it? If you were having a discussion with someone who believed in predestination, what would you say to them about what you believe?
What do you value most in your life? What are your treasures? How does your faith invite you to bring out the old and the new; what traditions and stories in the Bible, old as they are, are relevant to you and the choices you make for yourself and your family?
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”