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Liturgical day: Wednesday 5th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (1Kgs 10:1-10): 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: 36
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.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 17:17ba): Alleluia. Your word, o Lord, is truth: consecrate us in the truth. Alleluia.

Gospel text (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 one from out­side can make that person unclean. It is what comes out from within that makes 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, 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».

«Nothing that enters one from out¬side can make that person unclean»

Fr. Norbert ESTARRIOL i Seseras
(Lleida, Spain)

Today, Jesus teaches us that God made everything good. But our intentions —which are not always right— may contaminate what we do. This is why Jesus Christ says: «Nothing that enters one from out­side can make that person unclean. It is what comes out from within that makes un­clean» (Mk 7:15). The experience of the offence against God is very real. And we Christians can easily discover the evil's deep mark in a sin's enslaved world. The mission Jesus charges us with, is to clean —with the help of His grace— all this contamination men's bad intentions have spread all over the world.

The Lord wants all our activities to be carried out well: He expects us to show in them intensity, method, science, know-how, eagerness for perfection, not looking for anything else but reinstating God's plan for Creation. For God made everything for man's benefit: «Purity of intention. —You will always have it if, in everything you do, you only look forward to pleasing God» (Saint Josemaria).

Only our will can spoil the Divine Plan. And we must watch that this is not so. Quite often we let in vanity, pride, despondency for lack of faith, impatience when our aims are not attained... This is why saint Gregory the Great warned us: «Be not seduced by any flattering prosperity, for only the foolish traveler stops along the way to admire the beautiful landscape while forgetting where he is heading for».

It will, therefore, be convenient to pay attention to how we offer our deeds to God, to always be aware of His presence and to frequently consider the Divine Filiation. Thus, all our days—through work and prayer— will be fortified and begin in our Lord, and whatever we start in his name will reach its desired ending.

For we can make great things if we realize that each one of our human actions is a co-redeemer when joined to deeds and actions of Christ.