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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, July 24, 2011

By Jeff Hensley
Catholic News Service

July 24, Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle A readings:

1) 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12

Psalm 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-130

2) Romans 8:28-30

Gospel: Matthew 13:44-52

One of our diocese's outstanding pastors, Msgr. Charles King, passed from among us recently. His wisdom, compassion and pastoral nature made him a much admired and loved figure. In this week's reading from the First Book of Kings, Solomon answers the Lord's offer to give him anything he would ask, saying, "I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong. For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?"

As pastor of several large parishes, Msgr. King must have prayed a prayer like this at some time. Indeed every pastor must, like Solomon, look out on the people whose spiritual care has been entrusted to him and ask God for the wisdom to make good and wise decisions as shepherd of that flock.

Each of us, lay or ordained, is called to act wisely on behalf of those for whom we are responsible in one way or another, whether family members, co-workers, friends or acquaintances.

The psalm response points us to the source of wisdom to be found in the law -- the commands -- of the Lord. Additionally, the Romans reading tells us that all things "work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose."

We are assured that in God's words we will find wisdom and eventual positive benefits (sometimes in eternity) as we face life's challenges. The passage in Romans goes on to assure us of God's assistance in becoming the people he desires us to be: "For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son."


Have you been overwhelmed by the responsibilities you face in caring for others? Where have you found the strength, wisdom and love to make the right decisions?


"I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now" (1 Kings 3:12b).


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