July 24, 2023
Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings for Today
At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.” Matthew 12:42
In this passage, Jesus refers to the Queen of Sheba who traveled about 1,400 miles from Southern Arabia, which was most likely located in either modern-day Yemen or Ethiopia, to meet King Solomon. The queen had heard much about Solomon, about his wealth and wisdom, and wanted to find out if all that she heard was true. So she made the long journey and stayed with him for about six months, according to tradition. After spending time with him, she was greatly impressed and bestowed upon him gifts of gold, spices and precious stones. She said to him, “I did not believe the report until I came and saw with my own eyes that not even the half had been told me. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report I heard” (1Kings 10:7).
This foreign queen was deeply impressed with Solomon. Her journey, gifts and words illustrate her deep respect for him and her admiration. Jesus uses this story to illustrate the simple fact that Jesus Himself is much greater than Solomon and that He should be treated in a way that far surpasses the way the queen treated Solomon. But Jesus also makes it clear that, at the Final Judgment, this queen will rise and condemn the scribes and Pharisees because they failed to see the wisdom and kingship of Jesus. Instead, they came to Jesus, seeking signs and proof of Who He was.
In our own lives, the witness of the Queen of Sheba should be a source of true inspiration. She was someone who was powerful and wealthy herself, and yet she wanted to learn from Solomon and to benefit from his great wisdom which was given him by God. She should inspire us to do all we can to daily turn to our Lord and to seek His wisdom.
Jesus’s wisdom flows to us in many ways. The Gospels are especially important as a source of the most important lessons for life. Personal prayer, reading about the lives of the saints, and study of the teachings of our Church are also essential ways in which we receive the wisdom given to us by God. As you think about the many ways that are available to you to grow in the wisdom of God, try to use the Queen of Sheba as an inspiration. Do you have her same zeal? Are you willing to devote much time and effort to the pursuit of holy learning? Do you desire to journey to Jesus in the way that she desired to journey to Solomon?
One of the greatest hindrances to this pursuit of holy wisdom is sloth, or laziness. It is becoming increasingly easy to engage our minds in mindless pursuits. Many people can easily spend many hours in front of the television, computer or mobile devices and waste precious time and energy. Zeal for God and the pursuit of the many truths of faith must become the cure for sloth in our lives. We must want to know. And we must do all we can to increase that holy desire within us.
Reflect, today, upon the long journey made by this queen in pursuit of the wisdom of Solomon. As you do, examine whether you exhibit the same zeal that she had and how devoted you are to the pursuit of the wisdom of God. Where you are lacking, let her witness inspire you. Jesus is infinitely greater and wiser than Solomon, and we have been given full access to Him through prayer and holy learning. If you will make that holy journey to our Lord, with much determination, then unlike the scribes and Pharisees, your day of judgment will be a glorious one.
My Lord of all Wisdom, You are infinitely greater than the wisest of kings and more glorious than anything I can imagine. Please fill me with zeal, dear Lord, so that I will fervently pursue You and daily journey to You. Please guide my prayer and my study so that Your wisdom and Your very Self will be bestowed upon me. Jesus, I trust in You.
Saint of the Day –Saint Sharbel Makhlūf, Priest, Hermit