Growing up, I had to make sure that EVERYTHING was even and equal if my sister and I were both given something. If she got a bigger portion, I’d make sure mine was increased. Sometimes, I’ll admit, I tried to give myself the bigger portion. Fairness wasn’t so high on my list when I was getting the lion’s share.
Solomon, however, always had a heart for fairness. He was so wise that he KNEW how unwise he was, and asked for the wisdom to judge the Lord’s people and the wisdom to distinguish between good and evil.
His concern for fairness and justness is outlined by the second part of today’s reading, where the two prostitutes come to him to have him distinguish who is lying and who is telling the truth. This is one story that always stuck with me when I heard it in mass as a young kid in Catholic school. I remember being so HORRIFIED at the thought of King David suggesting they chop the baby in half! It seemed like such a
scary and terrible thing to even suggest. As a kid, that was what really stuck out to me. He wasn’t serious, of course, he was just bluffing. He got the exact information and answer he wanted out of the mothers, when of course the true mother wanted the baby safe, and the false mother wanted neither of them to be happy or to have a son.
Solomon was able to see through the lies and dishonesty and make the right decision by these two women. It wasn’t necessarily “fair” that one of the women had lost her son and one got to keep hers, but life isn’t always meant to be fair and equal. Original Sin took that away from us, and no matter how hard it can be to see our neighbors or coworkers doing just a little bit better, there is likely a neighbor or coworker who sees us as THEIR neighbor who is doing better than they are. Life isn’t always equal, and it certainly isn’t always fair. But one thing remains equal, despite how unfair it is: God’s love for us. Is it fair that He loves us all, and loves us unconditionally? Absolutely not. But the Lord loves us so, just the same.
Solomon used his gifts to give back, and to rule his people with a just heart and mind. What gifts are we holding back from the Lord? Is there something we could help out with during the year, not just during the Holiday Season, that we’re holding back? It seems like willingness to make time and volunteer is abundant during the Thanksgiving and Christmas time of year, and then winds up being a
scarcity during the rest of the year.
Reflect: Where are you struggling to accept life’s unfairness or inequality?
What can you do to accept and overcome any ungratefulness in your heart over all of the things you DO have?
Act: Make a commitment to give one of your gifts back to the Lord. Whether it’s by volunteering at your parish, or by committing to donate to a food pantry in the “off season,” think of something you can do, and give back to the Lord.