By Karen Sheehy
Don’t you just love a good saga, one filled with intrigue, love, betrayal and an unexpected hero who saves the day? In today’s Old Testament reading, we find the first part of such a saga, a saga about a Jewish King, named Solomon, and his visiting admirer from the south. This visitor, the queen of Sheba, comes bearing gifts for the brilliant and world renowned King of the Jews. There to greet her is King Solomon, his finely clad ministers, and a sumptuous banquet held in her honor. Between the grandeur of the King’s palace, the profound wisdom of his words, and the abundant offerings made to his God, she is left “breathless” (1Kgs 10:4). Mesmerized, she gives glory and honor to Solomon’s God, a God discovered through the wisdom and pious devotion exhibited by the king, “Blessed be the Lord, your God…. In his enduring love for Israel, the Lord has made you king to carry out judgment and justice” (1Kgs 10:9). In this story, we get a glimpse of God’s love for Israel, the promised coming of the King of Kings, Jesus Christ, and the heavenly banquet of the Lord, a banquet celebrated at every Mass and fully realized in heaven.
Part two of this story, contained within the Old Testament Song of Songs (Song of Solomon), tells of their proposed courtship and marriage. Each expresses their growing love and desire in the book’s opening verses. The queen says, “Let him kiss me with kisses of his mouth! More delightful is your love than wine” (SG 1:2). The king says, in return, “Ah, you are beautiful, my beloved, ah, you are beautiful; your eyes are like doves (SG 1:15). By the middle of the book, they have become man and wife, as the queen says, “Before I knew it, my heart had made me the blessed one of my kinswomen” (SG 6:12). Throughout these verses, we get a glimpse of Christ’s spousal love for His Bride, the Church, and for each of us.
Unfortunately, in the end, things don’t work out as they should, for King Solomon, like so many Jewish men of his time, had difficulty with marital fidelity. In fact, in 1Kings 11:3, we learn of his seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. Paradoxically, it is the foreign queen who becomes our story’s heroine, for she longs for more, “Set me as a seal on your heart…. for stern as death is love…its flames are a blazing fire” (SG 8:6). Left unfulfilled, she must wait for the promised coming of the divine King, Jesus Christ, who is the perfect Groom. He will gather the broken-hearted and unite them forever in His love as members of His Body, the Church. His is an eternal love and promised happily ever after. We are each invited to the heavenly wedding banquet. Your spot is reserved—are you coming?
About the Author:
Karen Sheehy is a devout Catholic, wife and mother, motivational speaker, blogger and developer of spiritualsafariguide.com, your passport to a world of spiritual inspiration and understanding. To learn more about Karen Sheehy and her upcoming book entitled, The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Journey Towards the Light of God’s Love, visit http://www.spiritualsafariguide.com