Wednesday, 7 February 2024. Read 1 Kings 10:1-10, Ps. 37:5-6,30-31,39-40, Mark 7:14-23

“There is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.” (Mark 7:14-15)

The Queen of Sheba travelled from Africa to test Solomon because news of his extraordinary wisdom reached her. She wanted to know if what she heard was true and she went home and marvelled. No wonder they say, “Travelling is education.” In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus invites us to a special journey into our hearts (the cooking pot of our ideas, inspirations and motivation). In other words, if the Queen of Sheba visited our thoughts today, would she find it as beautiful as Solomon’s palace? This brings us to the lessons in today’s readings.

1. Develop an Eagerness for Learning: Like the Queen of Sheba, do not rely only on hearsay; ask questions, try to see things for yourself, and be open to learning new things or new ways of doing things. Never assume you know it all or don’t need anybody. Thanks to technology, today, we can travel to a world of knowledge from the palm of our hands. The mobile phone is not only for communication and entertainment; it can also be a source of wisdom when properly used.

2. Wisdom Begets Riches: When God allowed Solomon to ask for anything, Solomon asked for wisdom (distinguishing good from evil). God was impressed with Solomon’s request because he asked for wisdom instead of its fruits (riches, long life, victory over enemies, etc.). Stop chasing riches; chase after value. Seek to develop yourself daily, be the best at work, grow your skills and refine your talents. If you do these, riches will chase after you. Consider all the gifts that the Queen of Sheba gave to Solomon when she discovered his worth of wisdom. This is how the world pours riches on our feet when we are people of value.

3. Bad Thinking is worse than Bad Food: Do you desire to be a person of value? Pay attention to your thoughts. The book of Proverbs says: “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23). Your life is a product of your thoughts. Today, Jesus tells us that the food we eat cannot defile us (because they enter our bodies and end up in the sewer), but the thoughts we accommodate in our minds can defile us.

We always select what we eat for fear of dying of food poisoning. Why, then, do we allow immoral, unwholesome or negative thoughts? Thoughts are powerful; thoughts defile - if it is happening in your mind, you are already doing it. Jesus taught that anyone who looks lustfully is guilty of adultery. When you think of killing someone, you are guilty of murder. Thoughts are not as harmless as we assume. The fact that no one can ‘see’ your thoughts does not make them okay. Stop feasting on bad thoughts.

4. Daily Examination of Conscience: Can you take your thoughts from autopilot? Yes. You can control your thinking by examining your conscience daily. As humans, we constantly judge everyone around us (positive or negative), but it takes special effort to judge ourselves – to notice the logs in our eyes. (Cf. Matthew 7:3-5). Judging yourself allows you to break the compulsive thinking chain and see the truth about your ugly side.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, make me pure and holy. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Wednesday of week 5 in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 1 Kings 10:1-10, Ps. 37:5-6, 30-31, 39-40, Mark 7:14-23).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu