5th Wednesday Ordinary B, Communion Service
1 Ki 10:1-10; Ps 37; Mk 7:14-23
I’ve recently watched several movies where people went back in time. If I had the ability to go back in time, second to visiting and listening to Jesus, I’d love to be there at the Queen of Sheba’s inquisition of Solomon.
Could you imagine her questions? Tell me about the stars and the oceans. Tell me about poverty and wealth. Tell me about war and peace. Tell me about sickness and health. Tell me about God.
Solomon’s answers were so astounding to the Queen, that the scriptures tell us,
“She was breathless.”
Now, I’d say there are two kinds of breathless. Breathless was seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time, or taking my first plane flight. But then, there’s the breathless that comes from getting punched in the stomach, when the air – just will not come back and the brain begins to get foggy.
I think the Queen’s breathless would have been much like the first type, an awe inspiring breathless. While listening to Jesus would have been more like the second. Imagine actually being in the very presence of Jesus. Yes, He might heal our un-healable ills, but on the other hand He just might rail on us about our unclean hearts.
And unlike His day, when the only unclean thing may have come out from the heart, today, we can grossly intake defilement from TV and movies, books and magazines and the internet as well. The message being, that we need to be just as cautious with what goes into our hearts as what comes out.
But getting back to imagining we’re in the presence of God.
As Catholics, it’s not something we have to imagine, because not only are we IN His presence, but we are in FULL communion with Jesus – every time we partake in the Holy Eucharist. And in Him we become a part of His very Body and Blood, His Soul and Divinity.
And there is nothing in life that could possibly leave us any more…
(punched in the stomach, dizzy-headed)
Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
The queen of Sheba, having heard of Solomon’s fame, came to test him with subtle questions. She arrived in Jerusalem with a very numerous retinue, and with camels bearing spices, a large amount of gold, and precious stones. She came to Solomon and questioned him on every subject in which she was interested. King Solomon explained everything she asked about, and there remained nothing hidden from him that he could not explain to her.
When the queen of Sheba witnessed Solomon’s great wisdom, the palace he had built, the food at his table, the seating of his ministers, the attendance and garb of his waiters, his banquet service, and the burnt offerings he offered in the temple of the LORD, she was breathless.
“The report I heard in my country about your deeds and your wisdom is true,” she told the king. “Though I did not believe the report until I came and saw with my own eyes, I have discovered that they were not telling me the half. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report I heard. Blessed are your men, blessed these servants of yours, who stand before you always and listen to your wisdom. Blessed be the LORD, your God, whom it has pleased to place you on the throne of Israel. In his enduring love for Israel, the LORD has made you king to carry out judgment and justice.” Then she gave the king one hundred and twenty gold talents, a very large quantity of spices, and precious stones. Never again did anyone bring such an abundance of spices as the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 37:5-6, 30-31, 39-40
R. The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.
Commit to the LORD your way; trust in him, and he will act. He will make justice dawn for you like the light; bright as the noonday shall be your vindication.
The mouth of the just man tells of wisdom and his tongue utters what is right. The law of his God is in his heart, and his steps do not falter.
The salvation of the just is from the LORD; he is their refuge in time of distress. And the LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.
Gospel Mk 7:14-23
Jesus summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.”
When he got home away from the crowd his disciples questioned him about the parable. He said to them, “Are even you likewise without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) “But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him. From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.”