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Seek ye first ...

In this weekend’s First Reading, God tests the young King Solomon by offering him a gift. And instead of asking for something for himself—wealth, long life or victory over his enemies—Solomon passes the test by praying for the wisdom to govern his people well.

Because his heart is in the right place, God grants him not only this but all the other gifts too. However, we’re left to wonder: if we were given the same test, how well would we fare? What would we ask for? The parables in today’s Gospel urge us to fix our desire on the Kingdom of God. Jesus likens it to a treasure hidden in an otherwise unremarkable field, and also to one pearl among many, but one that has particularly great value. God knows that this world presents us with a dizzying array of tempting options. He wants us to be like the fishermen with the dragnet, wise enough to separate the things that have real and lasting value from the things that turn out to be junk in the long run. If we’re being really honest with ourselves, if we had one wish, how would we be more likely to use it? Would we ask for something that only has temporary worldly value, like riches, good health or the admiration of our peers? Or would we pray instead to be saints: to be generous and loving; to do great things for the sake of the Kingdom; to be Christ-like and pleasing to God? If we search our hearts and find that our priorities aren’t quite what they should be, now might be a good time to do something about it.

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