READINGS for 2006-02-08
... she was breathless. ?1 Kings 10:4-5
When I was a kid, my mom trained us to fix our beds as soon as we got up. She didn?t care if we had maids to fix our rooms. Because I didn?t particularly like doing that chore, there would be days when I would do a sloppy job. My mom would scold me and make me fix the bed again. ?It takes the same effort to do it correctly or sloppily,? she would say. ?You?re doing it anyway so do it right the first time. Now you have to do it twice!? That taught me the importance of excellence and giving my best in whatever I did. King Solomon wasn?t only wise; he was also excellent in all that he did. His outlook in life was evident in the way he kept his home fixed, how he ran his household and how his servants conducted themselves. More importantly, it was manifested in the offerings he gave to the Lord. The habit of excellence is so opposed to the Filipino phrase, pwede na ?yan. We get the job done, and when it ends up shoddy, we say, ?Pwede na yan.? If you think about it, pwede na doesn?t cut it. A pwede na student doesn?t take home the medal. A pwede na athlete doesn?t win the trophy. A pwede na project doesn?t bag the award. A pwede na employee doesn?t get the promotion. Rissa S.
Lord, teach me to be excellent in all my ways. More importantly, teach me to be excellent when it comes to my relationship with You. Amen.
1 Kings 10:1-10
It is interesting that a pagan queen is able to recognize the wisdom of Solomon. This tells us that there is a universal quality to wisdom and truth. That is, what is true is recognizable to all as true. Truth is not a relative commodity that changes across peoples and cultures. This is why the witness of our lives is so important ? as if we live the truth in love, ALL people will able to see the truth of the Gospel.
1 The queen of Sheba, having heard of Solomon?s fame, came to test him with subtle questions. 2 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. 3 King Solomon explained everything she asked about, and there remained nothing hidden from him that he could not explain to her. 4 When the queen of Sheba witnessed Solomon?s great wisdom, the palace he had built, 5 the food at his table, the seating of his ministers, the attendance and garb of his waiters, his banquet service, and the holocausts he offered in the temple of the LORD, she was breathless. 6 ?The report I heard in my country about your deeds
P S A L M
Psalm 37:5-6, 30-31, 39-40
R: The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.
5 Commit to the LORD your way; trust in him, and he will act. 6 He will make justice dawn for you like the light; bright as the noonday shall be your vindication. (R) 30 The mouth of the just man tells of wisdom and his tongue utters what is right. 31 The law of his God is in his heart, and his steps do not falter. (R) 39 The salvation of the just is from the LORD; he is their refuge in time of distress. 40 And the LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him. (R)
This teaching of Jesus affirms the dignity and freedom of the individual in choosing the way that they will live their lives. He affirms that it is the choices that we make which determine the type of person, holy or otherwise, that we are. Yes, the environment can influence our choices as can other people and things, but ultimately what matters is what we ourselves choose to do when confronted with a number of possibilities.
14 He summoned the crowd again and said to them, ?Hear me, all of you, and understand. 15 Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.? 16 17 When he got home away from the crowd his disciples questioned him about the parable. 8 He said to them, ?Are even you likewise without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot defile, 19 since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine?? (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 ?But what comes out of a person,
God?s special verse/thought for me today_________________________________
T O D A Y ? S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: __________________________________________________
ADDRESS THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
One of the ever-present dangers in any profession is that we choose to address only the problems that we can solve easily and leave the hard ones for someone else. We may well be successful at solving the easy problems but what about the more difficult ones that are usually the source of the small ones in the first place? If we go to the root of the problem and fix it there, we will probably remove the smaller and easier problems at the same time. This is what Jesus is trying to do in today?s dialogue with the crowd. In the second part of the Gospel, Jesus explains this to His disciples.
The big question that arises from all of this is, ?Are we guilty of failing to address the root causes of sin in our lives?? Another way of looking at it can be to examine whether or not we constantly find ourselves addressing the symptoms or manifestations of sin in our lives or are we working at finding and curing the origins of these manifestations? Do we constantly blame external factors for our failures or do we look for the root cause, the primary choice within and under our own control that has led to or at least contributed to the manifestations of sin that we observe in our lives? Adam and Eve were great blamers of others for their sins. The only way to get rid of our sins and more importantly the causes of our sins is to take responsibility for it and then do something about it!
The truth of what Jesus says is self-evident. If we are honest with ourselves, we will recognize that all of our sins per se have, at their origins, a decision that we make in our hearts to follow a particular course of action. There may well be external factors that contri-bute to this decision, but this does not change the fact that the choice lies within our own realm of responsibility. You and I have chosen to do something that is based in sin and we must be willing to recognize this or it will be impossible to address the problem. Fr. Steve T
Lord Jesus, help me to take proper responsibility for my actions so that I can progress along the path of holiness by addressing the origins of sin in my life and by Your grace bringing them to conversion.
St. Jerome Emiliani, confessor, pray for us.
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