The Sunday Project

What would you ask for?

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time |

By Brandon Miranda
neon question mark
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First Reading
1 Kings 3:5, 7-12

At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, "Ask what I shall give you." And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people whom thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered or counted for multitude. Give thy servant therefore an understanding mind to govern thy people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to govern this thy great people?" It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, "Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.

Second Reading
Romans 8:28-30

We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 13:44-52

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad. So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. "Have you understood all this?" They said to him, "Yes." And he said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old."

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“The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night. God said, “‘Ask something of me and I will give it to you.’” (1 Kings 3:5)

And present day Brandon would say, “I want a rich husband so I never have to work again!” Not really but, a boy can wish…

But on a much more serious note, what would you ask for? I know for myself that the answer has changed over my lifetime. We all go through different phases of life that cause us to desire many things: your dream job, love of your life, to be holier, for so and so and that thing they need prayers for, etc. The list is endless but as a person in the LGBTQ+ community, I have a feeling I once prayed a similar prayer as many of you have at one point:

“Lord, I don’t want to be gay. Please rid me of my attraction!”

In my personal experience, this prayer haunted me for far longer than I want to admit. There were days when I encountered God in people I served while in ministry, but I would cry in my room later that night because I saw some cute boy and felt like the most rotten sinner for being attracted to him. I read all the Church had to offer on the subject of homosexuality and while I clearly understand the “love the sinner, hate the sin” mentality, I plunged into an internal darkness that told me that I could not trust my own heart’s desires because I was “intrinsically disordered” in my mind’s eye and that of the Church. I would beg God to save me from my same-sex attraction and on worse days, felt like God had given me a cross to heavy to bear.

The craziest thing was when I started to feel God calling me into seminary. I remember the exact moment I clearly heard God nudge me in that direction...why me? Couldn’t you find someone/anyone better?!? But it was in that self-defeating that the Lord revealed something deep that I still carry today. 

Much like Solomon, I realize the Lord was promising me a similar thing: 

“I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now, and after you there will come no one to equal you.” (1 Kings 3:12)

For the longest time, I felt I could never explore the priesthood or ministry because my homosexuality made me too broken to help others. Then, like a bolt of lightning, I came to learn in prayer that Jesus was using that brokenness to lead me to sainthood. I knew how it felt to feel unloved and that is the exact reason why I came to love others with all I could give. The very heart that yearned for what perceived I couldn’t have was the same heart that opened itself to the plight of the suffering. Even in the base value of commiseration, at least I knew I could accompany someone in their pain.

And eventually, I even came to realize that being gay wasn’t the cross I was given at all. Being gay was the gift! The cross was rather the reluctance to realize that God actively uses me in all my lumps and bumps for his greater glory! This broken heart he uses to create the mosaic of his workings here on Earth!

What would I ask for? Today, I think I’d ask God to give me the heart needed to embrace anyone he has placed on my path. It is only in this that I will ever encounter the person of Christ and truly be who God made me to be!