February 13, 2014 - Thursday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

1 Kings 11:4-13
Psalm 106:3-4, 35-37, 40
Mark 7:24-30

Who could have imagined that Solomon, the youth who asked God for wisdom because he knew that he was not equal to the task of ruling Israel, would become a corrupt old man with 1000 sexual partners. After beginning so well, Solomon ends so badly.

Whose fault is that? It is not God’s fault. God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond any other human before the time of the Holy Spirit. It is not Solomon’s wives’ fault: they were merely following the religions that they grew up with. Who could have taught them better? Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Solomon could not possibly have loved all these women. Jacob had two wives and could not love both of them. If Solomon had had only one wife, he would have taught her about the God of Israel, the only true God. It is Solomon’s fault. After having every advantage: wisdom, visions of God, and the example of his father, he abandons the faith that he knows is true.

Solomon has a faithfulness problem. He has one thousand wives. He was unable to be faithful to one. He worships all sorts of gods. He was unable to be faithful to one. If I were trying to do a little psychoanalysis of Solomon, I would suggest that his troubles might go back to his mother. He knew that his mother was the wife of another man, whom his father had killed. Even if David gave him the best example he could, he could not correct this bad example. This knowledge must have haunted Solomon his entire life. Whether this was why he chose to have so many wives or why he went along with them in their worship, we do not know, but Solomon’s parents could not be faithful and he could not either, not to a wife and not to God.

For all his wisdom, Solomon could not see this. He knew so much about the world and the sky and the stars but not about himself. Do not make the same error as Solomon. We all have weaknesses. We are all lacking in certain areas of human development. Whether it is because of our upbringing or genetics or whatever, this is the area where we must be particularly open to God’s grace, for it is the place where we are most vulnerable.

Solomon should not have asked for wisdom. God offered him whatever he wanted and Solomon should have asked God for a different gift. He should have asked for faithfulness.