The theme of wisdom surfaces in all three readings, albeit in
different ways. The psalmist asks the Lord for a knowledge of God’s statutes
and that knowledge is already wisdom. Solomon asks God for a discerning heart
to know how to apply those statutes in the discharge of his duties as ruler
of God’s people and this was recognized by his contemporaries as great wisdom.
In the gospel reading Jesus shows us an impromptu use of his wise discerning
heart, when his prepared plans are “disrupted” by circumstances not of his
The disciples had just returned from their mission and it was time for some
rest and relaxation, as well as for some debriefing on their missionary experience.
A perfectly healthy and legitimate plan that ran into a road block. People
had guessed their destination, so they beat them to the place and “disrupted”
their plan. What does Jesus do? “His heart was moved with pity for them...
and he began to teach them many things.” He recognizes the “disruption” as
belonging in his ministry and allows it to bring forth the best in his heart.
It makes me think of a parallel situation [Mt. 9:18-26], when Jesus is already
leaving a place for the home of an official, who had asked him to lay his
hand on his just deceased daughter. That is his plan. But suddenly a poor
woman, who had suffered from a blood discharge for twelve years, “disrupts”
his plan by stealthily touching his cloak in the hope of an unnoticed healing.
What does Jesus do? He owns her presence, engages her in conversation and
heals her. Only then will he move on with his previous plan. Here too Jesus
recognizes the “disruption” as belonging in his ministry, previous plans
Do the two situations sound familiar? They do to me as, on my way to respond
to a call in the hospital, I am “disrupted” by someone who wants to talk
to me in the corridor. And it probably sounds familiar to many others today.
In our Western societies many of us are so scheduled —over-scheduled?— that
we do not have much tolerance for “disruptions,” for people with genuine
needs who lay a claim on our time and energy without asking about our schedule.
How should we handle that? I believe Jesus is telling us today that our “disruptions”
belong in our ministry and are indeed part of it, that we cannot schedule
other people’s needs, that we have to make room for them even at the expense
of our prepared time tables.