As I heard the readings four times this weekend, I had some thoughts that might have become part of a homily, if I hadn't had a visiting priest giving me a break:
Solomon's request for wisdom...
Father Tim Schehr, who taught us Scripture in the seminary, would make much of the point that all this happened in a dream. The whole episode concludes with "Solomon awoke: it was a dream!" (1 Kings 3:15) -- i.e., perhaps offering a wry commentary on Solomon's actual performance, as opposed to his aspirations.
When Father Fortunatus touched on this, he mentioned how, in the seminary, guys would offer their own answers to God's question: what would you like from me? And Father suggested that if we were answering that question in light of the Gospel reading, we might ask for "the joy of the kingdom." And he developed that idea nicely, along with the way we spend much of our lives searching for true joy, and growing in the life of the kingdom.
But then I thought of a similar encounter with God, only this time by Saint Thomas Aquinas. The saint was praying, and the Lord spoke to him from the crucifix: "You have written well about me, Thomas; what gift would you wish from me?"
And Saint Thomas responded, "I would have you Lord!"
While Father didn't do much with the passage from Romans, I had some thoughts as I listened...
We know that all things work for good for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose.
For those he foreknew he also predestined
to be conformed to the image of his Son,
so that he might be the firstborn
among many brothers and sisters.
And those he predestined he also called;
and those he called he also justified;
and those he justified he also glorified.
It struck me: all this is certainly true of our Blessed Mother!
Her role in salvation history -- along with her son's, of course -- God "foreknew" before the fall of humanity; it is hinted at in the conversation with Adam and Eve after the fall.
Who "he foreknew he also predestined" -- that's what we say of Mary: "predestined by eternal decree." Thus she was saved from all stain of sin from conception (the immaculate conception), so that she could be, in the fullness of time, the new Eve who would untie the knot of the first Eve's disobedience.
And who is more "conformed to the image of his Son" than Mary? Indeed, insofar as 100% of the God-Man's DNA came from her, Jesus is an "image" of Mary; but we might more fittingly describe the creature, Mary, as the image, of her Son, who is God!
And look! From the one so predestined, indeed -- he is the "firstborn of many brothers and sisters"! What do we call our Lady? Mother of the Faithful.
Did God not "call" Mary? "Hail, Full of Grace, the Lord is with you...you will conceive and bear a son..." (Luke 1)? Did God not also "justify" Mary? "There is no stain in thee!" (Song of Songs 4:7)
"And those he justified he also glorified": did not God do this when he took his mother, body and soul into heaven at the conclusion of her life on earth?
Not that I am saying all these promises are only fulfilled in Mary; on the contrary: everything Mary receives, we will receive. Why should anyone begrudge the greatest human cooperator with God's work that she received her portion first? Without her fiat, where would we be?