Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
After traveling great distances, the Queen of Sheba finally arrives in Jerusalem to see the renowned King Solomon. She tests him with questions, and Solomon explains everything with impeccable wisdom and clarity. She observes the prosperity of the kingdom, and she is left breathless in awe and wonder. To her surprise, Solomon blows away all of her expectations.
In the time of Jesus, many of the people of Israel were awaiting a king and messiah with eager longing and with grand expectations. They were hoping for a ruler that would unite and restore the glory of the kingdom, such as was in the days of Solomon. Within this context, Jesus arrives, and as recorded in one of the passages of the Gospels, he shockingly declares that the queen of the South—that is, the queen of Sheba—“came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here” (Matthew 12:42). Of course, that something greater is Jesus Christ himself.
In a way, Jesus does blow away all of their expectations; but not quite in the way that the queen of Sheba experienced. Rather than surpassing their assumptions for what the long-awaited king would be, instead Jesus transforms their conjectures to give a new image of the kingdom of God and a new conception for what it means for him to be king. As the Preface in the Mass for the Solemnity of Christ the King says, Jesus presents “an eternal and universal kingdom, a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love, and peace.” This kingdom is not what the people of Israel were anticipating but it is exactly that for which their hearts unknowingly hoped.
In our lives today, Christ Jesus wishes to reign with his kingdom. At times we may slip back into expectations for a kingdom of wealth, fame, power, or domination. But, God’s revelation in Jesus Christ seeks to transform our worldly preoccupations into his heavenly vision. And, when we take a step back and ponder who and what sort of king Jesus shows himself to be, all the reason in our minds and all the desire in our hearts cannot help but be attracted by such an astoundingly beautiful king and a delightfully appealing kingdom. Truly, we may say to Jesus, just as the Queen of Sheba said to King Solomon, “Blessed these servants of yours, who stand before you always and listen to your wisdom.”