The Queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon.
A reading from the first Book of Kings (I Kings 10:1-10)
In those days: When the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices, and very much gold, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind. And Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king which he could not explain to her. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his cupbearers, and his burnt offerings which he offered at the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her. And she said to the king, “The report was true which I heard in my own land of your affairs and of your wisdom, but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it; and behold, the half was not told me; your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report which I heard. Happy are your wives! Happy are these your servants, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord loved Israel forever, he has made you king, that you may execute justice and righteousness.” Then she gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, and a very great quantity of spices, and precious stones; never again came such an abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 37:5-6.30-31.39-40 (R. 30a)
R/. The mouth of the just man utters wisdom.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act,
and make your uprightness shine like the light,
the justice of your cause like the noon-day sun. R/.
The mouth of the just man utters wisdom,
and his tongue tells forth what is right.
The law of his God is in his heart;
his steps shall be saved from stumbling. R/.
But from the Lord comes the salvation of the just,
their stronghold in time of distress.
The Lord helps them and rescues them,
rescues and saves them from the wicked:
because they take refuge in him. R/.
ALLELUIA John 17: 17ba
Alleluia. Your word, O Lord, is truth; sanctify us in the truth.
“The things which come out of a man are what defile him!”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (Mark7: 14-23)
At that time: Jesus called the people to him again, and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him.” And when he had entered the house, and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him, since it enters, not his heart but his stomach, and so passes on?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and they defile a man.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
In a very cosmetic age like ours, when external beauty and appearance is overly admired and celebrated, Jesus reminds us that it is what we carry within that is of greater importance. Purity before God does not consist of washing hands but in having a clean heart – a heart emptied of evil. Thus, we must pay greater attention to the state of our inner being. The list Jesus offers spanning from grave vices such as fornication, theft and murder to indecency, pride and folly not only provides a good tool for examination of conscience but reminds us that the seemingly small sins are capable of serious consequences when left unattended. Look within, take nothing for granted!