Biblical Readings for each day's Mass,
(for the Liturgical Year 2020)

12 Feb., 2020.
Wednesday, Week 5

1st Reading: 1 Kings 10:1-10

The Queen of Sheba admires Solomon's splendour and his wisdom

When the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, 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. Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her. When the queen of Sheba had observed 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 valets, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her. So she said to the king, "The report was true that I heard in my own land of your accomplishments and of your wisdom, but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. Not even half had been told me; your wisdom and prosperity far surpass the report that I had eard. Happy are your wives! Happy are these your servants, who continually attend 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 to execute justice and righteousness." Then she gave the king one hundred twenty talents of gold, a great quantity of spices, and precious stones; never again did spices come in such quantity as that which the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

Responsorial: Psalm 37

Response: The mouths of the just utter wisdom

Commit your life to the Lord,
 trust in him and he will act,
 so that your justice breaks forth like the light,
 your cause like the noon-day sun. (R./)

The just person's mouth utters wisdom
 and his lips speak what is right;
 the law of his God is in his heart,
 his steps shall be saved from stumbling. (R./)

The salvation of the just comes from the Lord,
 their stronghold in time of distress.
The Lord helps them and delivers them
 and saves them: for their refuge is in him. (R./)

Gospel: Mark 7:14-23

What degrades us is not food from outside but evil from within

Then he called the crowd again and said to them, "Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile."

When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. He said to them, "Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?" (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, "It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."


May your words, O Lord, be in my thoughts, on my lips, and in my heart. May they be my guide on life's journey and keep me near to you.

A life guided by wisdom

The Queen of Sheba's visit to King Solomon was a splendid affair, Solomon's wisdom is valued about all the glitter and wealth. A little earlier the young king had prayed for an understanding heart to judge the people. Because he valued wisdom over wealth or long life, God promised a fullness of riches and glory. Solomon's wisdom remained at the heart of his good fortune, integrating and balancing him, so he could judge the people wisely.

Jesus illustrates the wisdom that all things are part of God's good creation and are meant to enhance our life. What we eat or drink is clean and healthy, gifts from the God of life. Evil comes from within a corrupt heart, from which flow all kinds of offenses. Without wisdom, selfish impulses can take hold of our heart. Jesus names some of them, that are the very obverse of the Decalogue: theft, fornication, murder, greed, arrogance, an obtuse spirit. Our lives must be sincere, open always to the breath of God's Spirit. Central to every good life lies a love of wisdom, humbly following where God leads us.

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