Claretian Communications Foundation, Inc.
5TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Psalter: Week 1 / (Green)
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 37: 30-31, 39-40: The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.
1st Reading: 1 Kings 10: 1-10
The queen of Sheba heard about Solomon’s fame, and came to test him with difficult questions. She arrived in Jerusalem with a vast retinue and with camels loaded with spices and an abundance of gold and precious stones.
When she came to Solomon, she told him all that she had on her mind and Solomon answered all her questions.
There was nothing that the king could not explain to her. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the palace he had built, the food on his table, the residence of his officials, the attendance of his servants and their clothing, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings which he offered at Yahweh’s house, it left her breathless.
Then she said to the king, “All that I heard in my own land concerning you and your wisdom was true. But I did not believe the reports until I came and saw with my own eyes. And what did I see! I was told only half the story; for your wisdom and wealth surpass the report I heard.
Fortunate are your wives! Fortunate are your servants who are ever in your presence and hear your wisdom! Blessed be Yahweh your God, who has looked kindly on you and has put you on the throne of Israel! Because of Yahweh’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king so that you may dispense justice and righteousness.”
Then she gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, spices in abundance, and precious stones. Such an abundance of spices as those which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon was never again seen.
Gospel: Mk 7: 14-23
Jesus then called the people to him again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and try to understand. Nothing that enters a person from the outside can make that person unclean. It is what comes from within that makes a person unclean.
Let everyone who has ears listen.” When Jesus got home and was away from the crowd, his disciples asked him about this saying, and he replied, “So even you are dull?
Do you not see that whatever comes from outside cannot make a person unclean, since it enters not the heart but the stomach, and is finally passed out?” Thus Jesus declared that all foods are clean. And he went on,
“What comes out of a person is what defiles him, for evil designs come out of the heart: theft, murder, adultery, jealousy, greed, maliciousness, deceit, indecency, slander, pride and folly. All these evil things come from within and make a person unclean.”
“Purity of heart.”
What may blur our vision and impede our capacity to practice acts of loving-kindness are the negative things we carry within us such as jealousy, anger, greed and deceit – to mention a few.
Unless we let go of these negativities, we will always find it difficult to build on what is good in us and in others. Jealousy, for example, will hinder us from seeing the gifts God has given us and would keep us wanting to have what God has given to others. It will keep us away from self-acceptance and destroy the relationships we have.
A distorted self-understanding breeds a distorted character. Hence, the character of a person is built depending on what is being cultivated from within. In today’s Gospel, Jesus exhorts the people to be mindful of what really defiles a person. What makes a person unclean is not what one eats but what one harbors in one’s own heart.
With this, Jesus invites us to look intently on what is inside our hearts. This invitation is a summons to purity of heart. The purer our hearts are, the farther we can go out of our comfort zones in order to be of service to others.
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