Jesus’ mission was not ever to be ethnically limited, but it does have a starting place in a specific people.
No matter if it is a grand palace or an otherwise healthy tradition, if it prevents us from partnering with what God is doing, we need to be freed from it.
It’s a fact: sometimes following God is difficult, unpleasant and confusing. We are called to deny ourselves, pick up our crosses and follow Jesus. But while we attempt to walk faithfully with our God who has claimed and saved us, we are offered guidance and reassurances through words of spirit and life.
The readings this week both speak about what one needs to do to gain life. The first story is about how Solomon gains his legendary wisdom. The second story is about Jesus speaking in purposefully graphic and upsetting terms about how his followers would need to consume him. In both stories, we are told what one needs to do to have life.
Our appetites are often good things. We yearn for cool water on the hot days of summer, we get hungry for nourishing food and we long to feel loved and safe. These are good, healthy and appropriate. There are times, however, when our appetites and hunger for more of even good things, lead to ruin or missing something even better. This week’s passages tell the stories of two such times when human appetites were the sources of missing the mark of what God desired.
When I was little (and not so little) my mom used to tell me “if you’re around trouble, you’re in trouble.” I don’t think that is always the case, but she was definitely on to something.
This week’s readings point to a God, and God-revealed-through-Jesus who choose to engage in service to humans rather than attend to fulfilling divine honor or personal comfort.
When we witness rulers making poor decisions that cause others to suffer and die, we must remember that the Kingdom of Heaven is still advancing. We must pray and advocate for the repentance of our leaders from foolish overconfidence, that they (and we) embrace the ways of the God’s kingdom: respect for God’s holiness and love of all our neighbors.