Saturday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time | February 8, 2020

A quotation attributed to St. Oscar Romero is a good point of departure for reflections on today’s readings:

“There are many things that can only be seen through the eyes that have cried.”

I can imagine tears in Solomon’s voice as he asks God for an understanding heart. Perhaps tears of fearfulness about his sense of inadequacy to his job as a young king succeeding his father David. Perhaps he was growing toward the moment when he asked God for wisdom and an understanding heart. Maybe he had already recognized his failings – for we know that even as wise as Solomon became and how important he was in God’s plan for his people, he didn’t always follow that wisdom and sometimes committed great sins. While he was not even close to perfect, he approached God through tears and asked for the wisdom to be better. Doing something like that often takes great courage and honesty of heart. It is not easy. Is this something you have experienced? Is God inviting you to embrace Holy Wisdom more in your life?

I can also imagine tears in the psalm, as the young psalmist strives to learn how to live in a way that is upright, just and true. Like Solomon, that young person seeks a relationship with God to mentor them in those paths. Perhaps you are calling to mind a young person in your life who is seeking direction and wisdom and wants to do good for the world. Do you see a way that you could reach out to them and accompany them on that spiritual journey? Do you have Holy Wisdom that you could share with them?

Perhaps there were tears in the Gospel passage of Jesus responding to the needs of his disciples for rest and of the crowds. Maybe Jesus saw his disciples were tired or exhausted from the work they had been doing announcing God’s reign – a lot of travel, a lot of activity, and probably some rejection, too. Jesus invites them into a place of quiet to be refreshed and renewed, to reconnect with Holy Wisdom.

However, Jesus is  also aware of the needs of the many who came to hear him. Perhaps there were tears in their eyes – also from a long journey in search of Wisdom. Maybe there were tears in his eyes as the Gospel recognizes his compassion for them – he sees them as like sheep without a shepherd.

Compassion literally means “to suffer with.” I think we can all find in our lives when our compassion for the suffering of others has moved us to tears. Or we have felt the sting of suffering, loss, rejection or hurt and tears have welled up. As we consider the Gospel and Jesus’ response to his disciples and to the crowds, we might ask ourselves: How well do we respond to the call of Jesus to rest, reflect, renew our spirits and be restored by Holy Wisdom for the work of discipleship? And when those whose needs are far greater than ours seek healing and mercy for their own suffering and loss, are we prepared to respond from the well of Holy Wisdom from which Jesus invites us continually to drink?

Bringing these questions into our hearts in prayer invite us to consider our own tears, those of others, and the desire of God’s Holy Wisdom to grant us a full and understanding heart for all of God’s people.

God give you peace!

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As Director of Certification for Ecclesial Ministry and Service at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), I have the opportunity to record video reflections on the readings of the Scriptures proclaimed at daily Mass. I do so as part of larger group of colleagues at the Conference, along with lay and ordained leaders from around the country. I am grateful for the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the readings for the life of faith today and to share them here, along with the written text of the reflections. To view these video reflections for past and upcoming celebrations of the Eucharist, visit the USCCB website.