Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 24.07.2023
Exodus 14: 5 – 18
In those days: When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the mind of Pharaoh and his servants was changed towards the people, and they said, “What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” So he made ready his chariot and took his army with him, and took six hundred picked chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt and he pursued the sons of Israel as they went forth defiantly. The Egyptians pursued them, all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and his horsemen and his army, and overtook them encamped at the sea, by Pih-hiroth, in front of Baal-zephon. When Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them; and they were in great fear. And the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord; and they said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt, ‘Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never, see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be still.” The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. Lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the sons of Israel may go on dry ground through the sea. And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”
The Word of the Lord.
Exodus 15: 1 – 2, 3 – 4, 5 – 6 (R.) 1a
R/. I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously.
I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
The horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my song,
And he has become my salvation;
This is my God, and I will praise him,
My father’s God, and I will exalt him. R/.
The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name.
Pharaoh’s chariots and his host he cast into the sea;
and his picked officers are sunk in the Red Sea. R/.
The floods cover them;
They went down into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power,
Your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy. R/.
Psalm 95: 7d, 8a
Today, harden not your hearts, but listen to the voice of the Lord.
“The queen of the South will arise at the judgement with this generation.”
MATTHEW 12: 38 – 42
At that time: Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days’ and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will arise at the judgement with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will arise at the judgement with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: The Pursuit of God’s Wisdom
July 24, 2023
At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.” (Matthew 12:42)
In this passage, Jesus refers to the Queen of Sheba who traveled about 1,400 miles from Southern Arabia, which was most likely located in either modern-day Yemen or Ethiopia, to meet King Solomon. The queen had heard much about Solomon, about his wealth and wisdom, and wanted to find out if all that she heard was true. So she made the long journey and stayed with him for about six months, according to tradition. After spending time with him, she was greatly impressed and bestowed upon him gifts of gold, spices and precious stones. She said to him, “I did not believe the report until I came and saw with my own eyes that not even the half had been told me. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report I heard” (1Kings 10:7)._
This foreign queen was deeply impressed with Solomon. Her journey, gifts and words illustrate her deep respect for him and her admiration. Jesus uses this story to illustrate the simple fact that Jesus Himself is much greater than Solomon and that He should be treated in a way that far surpasses the way the queen treated Solomon. But Jesus also makes it clear that, at the Final Judgment, this queen will rise and condemn the scribes and Pharisees because they failed to see the wisdom and kingship of Jesus. Instead, they came to Jesus, seeking signs and proof of Who He was.
In our own lives, the witness of the Queen of Sheba should be a source of true inspiration. She was someone who was powerful and wealthy herself, and yet she wanted to learn from Solomon and to benefit from his great wisdom which was given him by God. She should inspire us to do all we can to daily turn to our Lord and to seek His wisdom.
Jesus’s wisdom flows to us in many ways. The Gospels are especially important as a source of the most important lessons for life. Personal prayer, reading about the lives of the saints, and study of the teachings of our Church are also essential ways in which we receive the wisdom given to us by God. As you think about the many ways that are available to you to grow in the wisdom of God, try to use the Queen of Sheba as an inspiration. Do you have her same zeal? Are you willing to devote much time and effort to the pursuit of holy learning? Do you desire to journey to Jesus in the way that she desired to journey to Solomon?
One of the greatest hindrances to this pursuit of holy wisdom is sloth, or laziness. It is becoming increasingly easy to engage our minds in mindless pursuits. Many people can easily spend many hours in front of the television, computer or mobile devices and waste precious time and energy. Zeal for God and the pursuit of the many truths of faith must become the cure for sloth in our lives. We must want to know. And we must do all we can to increase that holy desire within us.
Reflect, today, upon the long journey made by this queen in pursuit of the wisdom of Solomon. As you do, examine whether you exhibit the same zeal that she had and how devoted you are to the pursuit of the wisdom of God. Where you are lacking, let her witness inspire you. Jesus is infinitely greater and wiser than Solomon, and we have been given full access to Him through prayer and holy learning. If you will make that holy journey to our Lord, with much determination, then unlike the scribes and Pharisees, your day of judgment will be a glorious one.
My Lord of all Wisdom, You are infinitely greater than the wisest of kings and more glorious than anything I can imagine. Please fill me with zeal, dear Lord, so that I will fervently pursue You and daily journey to You. Please guide my prayer and my study so that Your wisdom and Your very Self will be bestowed upon me. Jesus, I trust in You.