of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

What a gift it is, to be able to recognise the true value of things, and choose those which will last forever and bring us true happiness ! Solomon, renowned for wisdom, is able to make the right choices when offered the chance to have anything he wants. What would we choose? The parable in the Gospel tells us that, in a sense, the choice is already before us: we can see the kingdom of heaven waiting for us: it is of greater value than anything else, and so all our hearts should be set on it. Nothing should stand in our way.

Notes for Readers

First Reading: 1 Kings 3:5. 7-12.
If we were offered the proverbial three wishes, would we wish for something which would only serve to help others, rather than ourselves ? That is King Solomon’s choice in this reading: a gift of wisdom and discernment which will enable him to rule the people wisely and well. This is a wonderful story, which the reader can proclaim very effectively. Be careful to distinguish the ‘speaking characters’: without using ‘different voices’, somehow change your tone when God or Solomon are speaking. Solomon’s speech is in two halves: the first section is a prelude to his request (up to ‘...counted or reckoned’); the phrase ‘I am a very young man’ is particularly poignant. Perhaps make a significant pause before the actual request (‘Give your servant...’), in order to emphasise it as a formal ‘wish’. When God replies, be sure to underline the granting of the request: ‘here and now I do what you ask.’ Enjoy the solemn poetry of the last sentence !
Second Reading: Romans 8:28-30
Hidden behind this reading must be your understanding of who Paul is talking about: it is us, the baptised, that he is referring to. We have been called and justified and share in the glory of God through the mystery of Baptism. Though brief, this reading is complex: take your time. Consider especially the first line: think beforehand about the meaning of ‘turning everything to their good’. Emphasise the line ‘true images of his Son’. The final sentence is a wonderful summary of our Christian status as ‘those who love God’. Proclaim it with conviction, stressing the word ‘glory’ when you get to it.

From the Catechism

CCC 407
Cannot ignore wound of sin in discerning human situation

CCC 1777-1785
Moral decision making in rapport with God’s will

CCC 1786-1789
Seeking will of God in divine law in difficult circumstances

CCC 1038-1041
Separation of good and evil at Judgment

CCC 1037
God predestines no one to hell

CCC 1786-1789
Faced with a moral choice, conscience can make either a right judgment in accordance with reason and the divine law or, on the contrary, an erroneous judgment that departs from them.
Man is sometimes confronted by situations that make moral judgments less assured and decision difficult. But he must always seriously seek what is right and good and discern the will of God expressed in divine law.
To this purpose, man strives to interpret the data of experience and the signs of the times assisted by the virtue of prudence, by the advice of competent people, and by the help of the Holy Spirit and his gifts.
Some rules apply in every case:
- One may never do evil so that good may result from it;
- the Golden Rule: "Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them."
- charity always proceeds by way of respect for one's neighbor and his conscience: "Thus sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience . . . you sin against Christ." Therefore "it is right not to . . . do anything that makes your brother stumble."

Gospel Wordsearch