It’s summer, so the choir is gone at St. Matt’s. And we’ve got so much to do on the house to get it ready. So we go to the 8:30 Mass at St. Joe’s. It’s a quick, ten-minute bike ride away.
There’s no cantor or organ to let us know when Mass is about to begin. Indeed, there isn’t even a procession up through the nave. Instead there are just some simple bells that chime from the sacristy, just to the left of the sanctuary, and the priest & lector just kinda appear. It reminds me of Italy, actually, where we saw much the same thing when we were there in aught-three.
The first reading is from Kings, in this particular instance good old King Solomon. The Lord appears to him in a dream, to grant him anything he wishes. Smart guy that he is, he doesn’t ask for fast cars or loose women or wads of cash. He asks God for the wisdom to govern. “I am a mere youth,” he says. “I serve you in the midst of … a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted.”
Things never change, do they? I can barely wrap my own head around the concept of three hundred million Americans or six billion people on Earth. But at least I’ve got some reference, a census or whatever, something to give me a number at least. Poor Solomon doesn’t even have that. He doesn’t even know how many there are.
Something else, though, that I just learned, that I find fascinating, something that I think is just totally cool. From the Wikipedia entry for S-L-M:
Arabic Salām, Hebrew Shalom, Ge’ez śalām, Syriac šlama are cognate Semitic terms for “peace”, deriving from a Proto-Semitic *šalām. The word salām is used in a variety of expressions and contexts in Arabic and Islamic speech and writing. Al-Salam is one of the 99 names of God in the Qur’an, and also a male given name in conjunction with abd. Abd Al-Salam translates to Slave of Al-Salaam (i.e. Slave of Allah.)
In Hebrew, the equivalent of the word is Shalom. It is also the root word of the names Solomon (Süleyman), Selim, etc.
I’ve certainly noticed the similarity between the Arabic Salām and the Hebrew Shalom, but I never noticed before the connection to the name Solomon. But it’s pretty cool, huh?