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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 07.02.24

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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 07.02.24

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1ST 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 for ever, 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/.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
John 17: 17ba

Alleluia.
Your word, O Lord, is truth; sanctify us in the truth.
Alleluia.

GOSPEL
“The things which come out of a man are what defile him!”
MARK 7: 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.

GOSPEL REFLECTION: That Which is Within
February 7, 2024

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.” (Mark 7:14–15)

What is within you? What is in your heart? Today’s Gospel concludes with a list of vices that sadly come from within: “evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.” Of course, none of these vices are desirable when looked at objectively. They are all quite repulsive. And yet too often they are sins that people deal with on a regular basis to one extent or another.

Take greed, for example. When understood clearly, no one wants to be known as one who is greedy. It’s a shameful attribute to have. But when greed is not looked at as greed, it’s easy to fall into the trap of living it. One who is greedy desires an excessive amount of this or that. More money, a better house, a nicer car, more luxurious vacations, etc. Thus, when a person is acting in a greedy way, greed does not seem undesirable. It’s only when greed is looked at in an objective way that it is understood for what it is.

In this Gospel, by naming this long list of vices, Jesus does us an incredible act of mercy. He rattles us and calls us to step back and look at sin for what it is. Jesus also makes it clear that when you live one or more of these vices, you become defiled. You become greedy, a liar, cruel, a gossip, hateful, arrogant, etc. Objectively speaking, no one wants this.

What is it in that list of vices that you struggle with the most? What do you see within your own heart? Be honest with yourself before God. Jesus desires that your heart be pure and holy, freed from these and every filth. But unless you are able to look at your own heart with honesty, it will be difficult to reject the sin with which you struggle.

Reflect, today, upon this list of sins identified by our Lord. Consider each one and allow yourself to see each sin for what it truly is. Allow yourself to despise these sins with a holy wrath and then turn your eyes to that sin with which you struggle the most. Know that as you consciously see that sin and reject it, our Lord will begin to strengthen you and purify your heart so that you become freed from that defilement and become, instead, the beautiful child of God you were made to be.

PRAYER:
My merciful Lord, help me to see sin for what it is. Help me, especially, to see my own sin—that sin within my own heart that defiles me as Your dear child. As I see my sin, give me the grace I need to reject it and to turn to You with all my heart so that I can become a new creation in Your grace and mercy. Jesus, I trust in You!

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