Saturday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

1Kgs 3:4-13; Ps 119:9-14; Mk 6:30-34
“Within my heart I treasure your promise.”

The Father’s promise of life eternal in his Son, Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit is the treasure more precious than life in this world. We preferred the treasure of God’s Word to the thought of living in denial of the ordinances from the mouth of the LORD. Now, in this liturgy, we join with all the saints in glory because they have discovered the true treasure of life, a share in the very divine life of the Holy Trinity. Like King Solomon, our hearts are growing in wisdom and understanding so that we can became the seed of the church by our self-sacrifice if necessary to the shedding of our blood. In the witness of our life, we are moved with pity for all the agents of torture and death in this world of ours. We must forgive our persecutors and pray for them. Such a glorious witness demands that we come to the Table of the Lord so that we might become strong in his love for our enemies for all who hate us.

The honesty of the new king of Israel is startling. Most leaders are hesitant to admit their inexperience and ignorance. Most leaders want what will make them look good in the sight of all their people and even their enemies. The LORD God is delighted with this Son of David and his request for an understanding heart to judge the people and to distinguish right from wrong. Only the gift of wisdom will enable Solomon to govern this vast people of God. Such a compassionate heart in the King is already God’s gift and Solomon’s acceptance of such a heart makes him pleasing to the LORD. Such a King attracts great attention, and as his fame spread through the land and into foreign countries, his loyalties begin to be divided between his LORD and the false gods of his many concubines and wives. The heart of Solomon looses its compassion, and his royal decisions cause a great deal of division and strife among the people. The Lord Jesus, the Faithful Son of David is the one who alone remains wise and understanding even while his heart is moved with pity for the crowds. He does not let the needs of the disciples manipulate him into some false kindness. His love is tough, and it is ruled by the truth. Without truth love deteriorates into a mere appearance of kindness, but it destroys the dignity of the community and its members. Giving a mother the right to kill her child is not compassionate toward the child in the womb, nor the mother who will struggle to receive the forgiveness of Christ for murdering her own child.

After their first missionary journey the Apostles are invited by the Master to come away by themselves to a deserted place and rest a while. This retreat was a compassionate response to the worn-out Twelve. They needed to be away from a great number of needy people who sought the wisdom and healing. However, the people who saw them go away for a break followed in great numbers arriving before them. When the Lord Jesus saw the broken hearted before him, he could not ignore their pain for it was a hunger much greater than the Apostles’ hunger, who had no opportunity to even eat. The Lord Jesus had some nourishment for them; every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. He could not ignore their spiritual starvation for they were like sheep without a shepherd. He taught them many things. He spent himself in nourishing their spiritual hunger before taking time with his Apostles. They knew him and his ways among them. They knew his compassionate heart and trusted in his merciful love. In every generation those who give witness do so boldly and with great compassion. The Lord Jesus, models the compassion of his Father, and invites us to pour ourselves out in love for the crowd.