At my church, we host small Eucharistic celebrations (usually followed by potluck meals) during the week. These intra-congregational gatherings follow a slightly altered version of the Western rite. Being involved with this has been very formative for me over the last few years. Around three years ago, (after approval by the elders) I stepped into the presider rotation. This has afforded me an opportunity to write many short homilies. These are simple reflections on the texts of the day that point us to the Table. I will occasionally post these here. And I will probably post some of the old ones that I have written. This was the homily for today.
Thursday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time
1 Kings 11:4-13
Psalm 106:3-4, 35-36, 37 and 40
Our texts today are full of people doing unexpected things. Solomon, the one chosen to build the Temple of the Lord, becomes enticed by strange gods. The same man whose prayer at the dedication of the Temple we read only a few chapters before our passage, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath.” The same man who draws people like the Queen of Sheba to Israel and has them proclaim the goodness of the God of Israel falls away. That man falls away.
In our gospel passage, we again see a strange site. We see Jesus being sought out by a Greek woman. She is not a child of the promise to Abraham, but still she seeks Jesus out. In her helplessness, she is desperate. And like the encounter of Jacob at the river Jabbok, she will not let Jesus go until she receives a blessing from him. And her persistence is rewarded with Jesus proclamation of healing.
Why does Solomon, who has every reason to trust in the faithfulness of God, begin to doubt and be enticed by other gods? Why people to whom have been given promises, prophets and Scriptures fail to be faithful to the God who spoke to them?
And why is God sought out by the poor and ignorant who have no reason to trust that God is faithful to those who seek him?
The rich and satisfied, who abuse God’s election by clinging to it in their comfort convince themselves that they do not need God. They confuse the blessings of God, his promise, his scriptures, even his people, with God himself. They fill themselves.
The poor and empty turn to God in their helplessness. They depend upon God because they have nothing else to depend on. No possessions, no people, no savings account, no doctrine. All they have is their emptiness.
We come now to this table where God promises to meet us.
Let us come not as the rich and satisfied, who are sent away empty, but as the hungry who God fills with good things.