1 Kings 10:1-10
The fame of Solomon having reached the queen of Sheba… she came to test him with difficult questions. She brought immense riches to Jerusalem with her, camels laden with spices, great quantities of gold, and precious stones. On coming to Solomon, she opened her mind freely to him; and Solomon had an answer for all her questions, not one of them was too obscure for the king to expound. When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon, the palace he had built, the food at his table, the accommodation for his officials, the organisation of his staff and the way they were dressed, his cup-bearers, and the holocausts he offered in the Temple of the Lord, it left her breathless, and she said to the king, ‘What I heard in my own country about you and your wisdom was true, then! Until I came and saw it with my own eyes I could not believe what they told me, but clearly they told me less than half: for wisdom and prosperity you surpass the report I heard. How happy your wives are! How happy are these servants of yours who wait on you always and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God who has granted you his favour, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because of the Lord’s everlasting love for Israel, he has made you king to deal out law and justice.’ And she presented the king with a hundred and twenty talents of gold and great quantities of spices and precious stones; no such wealth of spices ever came again as those given to King Solomon by the queen of Sheba.
Jesus called the people to him and said, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that goes into a man from outside can make him unclean; it is the things that come out of a man that make him unclean. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to this.’
When he had gone back into the house, away from the crowd, his disciples questioned him about the parable. He said to them, ‘Do you not understand either? Can you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot make him unclean, because it does not go into his heart but through his stomach and passes out into the sewer?’ (Thus he pronounced all foods clean.) And he went on, ‘It is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean. For it is from within, from men’s hearts, that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within and make a man unclean.’
Until I came and saw it with my own eyes I could not believe what they told me
The way to discover whether a person is really credible is to speak to the person and gain a sensing of whether the person is genuine. Spending time to work with the person will eventually reveal the true colours of this person in the mannerisms and also the way he treats others. Perhaps the saying,” Seeing is believing” aptly sums up the above observation. Yet in the reading of today, I ask that we go beyond the five sense but dwell deeper into what makes Christians tick.
The Queen of Sheba had to discover for herself about the wisdom of Solomon and she was convinced by the splendour and grandeur of his kingdom. However as Christians, we are called to go beyond the external appearances and focus on the inside as we read in today’s Gospel. Jesus believes that it is perhaps evil that stem from the hearts of people and it is through one’s actions that one can truly tell whether the person is a believer of Christ.
The world has a higher expectation of us as Christians. They want us to behave just as Christ did and this is indeed what we must do if we are to be called Christians. I ask that we take some time today to pray and reflect on the day’s activities and see how we can use words and actions that are life-giving to bring the love of Christ to all around us.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Lord let us be your instruments of love.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who are care-givers in this society.