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.
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/.
John 17: 17ba
Your word, O Lord, is truth; sanctify us in the truth.
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.
REFLECTION: Why Do We Do What We Do?
February 9, 2022
“Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.” (Mark 7:15)
Conversely speaking, that which comes from within is what makes a person holy!
Often, we are more concerned about that which is on the outside than that which is on the inside. We often worry excessively about how we are perceived by others, how we look, or what our reputation is in the eyes of the world. This Gospel specifically addresses the charge of the Pharisees that eating certain foods defiles someone. Jesus isn’t buying that. He is pointing our attention to our hearts. What is there in our hearts? And what is it that comes forth from the heart? This is what makes us who we are.
Though this deals with the worries that certain foods will defile, it also deals with much more. It addresses the tendency of purely external observances of God’s law. Thus, it addresses the tendency of the Pharisees to be excessively worried about how they are perceived by others. Their external observance of the law reveals the fact that they seem to be overly concerned about what others think about them and what others say about them. They want to look holy. They want to look like they are beyond the smallest of indiscretions. But it’s all an appearance and not reality.
For that reason, Jesus puts the attention on the internal. God sees what is in our hearts. Even if no one else sees this we should never forget the fact that God sees all. That’s all that matters. That which is in our hearts can either do great damage to us or do great good. There are those who, in the public perception, are way off base. But from God’s perspective they are right on target. Conversely, there are those in public opinion who are shining stars, but from God’s perspective are way off base. There is only one thing that matters: What does God think?
Reflect, today, upon that which is inside your heart. This introspection should also challenge you to look at your motivations. Why do you do what you do and why do you make the decisions you make? Are they choices that come from an honest and sincere heart? Or are they choices that are based more on how you will be perceived? Hopefully your motives are pure. And hopefully those pure motives come from a heart that is deeply united to the heart of Christ.
Lord of all purity, please make my motives pure. Help me to live only out of a pure heart. Help me to always realize that holiness is found only in serving You and not in serving my public image. I love You my Lord. Jesus, I trust in You!https://masvingomirror.com