When I was a kid, my mom always used to use the phrase “The Queen of Sheba” to describe a person (or sometimes a dog) who thought they were all that. Well, in today’s first reading, we meet the real Queen of Sheba. She came to meet King Solomon and test him to see if he was really as wise as everyone was saying. She was not disappointed.
Our Gospel reading today from Mark 7 is one that has had a profound influence on my life. Jesus said, “Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.” He goes on to describe some of these things…evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, envy, arrogance…just to name a few. In going down the full list, I find that there is not one offense of which I am not guilty.
When these terrible things “come out,” it is no accident. These are things that I believe all of us have within. But we have the ability, with the grace of God alone, to tame these things. To keep them at bay, to keep them within. The more we give our lives over to Christ, the more we will find that we have mastery over these things. And the fewer times these things come out, the fewer times we will be defiled. And less defilement is a good thing in my book.
Father, you know that these evil things lurk within us. Help us to allow your grace into our hearts and minds that we may conquer evil through Christ our Lord. Amen.