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Solomon and the Queen of Sheba

Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, Lorenzo Ghiberti [Web Gallery of Art]

The first reading in tomorrow's Mass, Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time, is 1 Kings 10:1-10. It tells of the visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon. Sheba is believed to have been located in modern-day Yemen.

When the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, (fame due to the name of the Lord), she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices, and very much gold, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind. Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her. When the queen of Sheba had observed all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his valets, and his burnt-offerings that he o…

'Prepare the way of the Lord.' Sunday Reflections, 2nd Sunday of Advent, Year C

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Linaoli Tabernacle, St John the Baptist, Fra Angelico, c.1433
Museo di San Marco, Florence [Web Gallery of Art
Gospel Luke 3:1-6 (NRV, Catholic Edition, Can) 

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah,

“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’

Charles Kuralt was…

'Prepare the way of the Lord.' Sunday Reflections, 2nd Sunday of Advent, Year B

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St John the BaptistEl Greco, c.1600Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco [Web Gallery of Art]
Readings(New American Bible: Philippines, USA) Readings(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)  GospelMark 1:1-8  (New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Canada)

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,     who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:     ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,     make his paths straight,’”

King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba

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Queen of Sheba before Solomon Nicolaus Knüpfer, 1640s [Web Gallery of Art]
The First Reading from today's Mass, 1 Kings 10:1-10 (NRSVCE)
When the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon  she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices, and very much gold, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind. 
Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her. When the queen of Sheba had observed all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his valets, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her.
So she said to the king, “The report was true that I heard in my own land of your accomplishments and of your wisdom,but I did not believe the reports until I ca…

'The queen of the south will arise at the judgment . . .'

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King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, Rubens, 1620
Today's gospel is Luke 11:29-32 in which Jesus mentions 'the queen of the South'. She is also known as the Queen of Sheba. Some scholars say she was from Yemen, others from Ethiopia. Yemen is one of the Arab countries that is unsettled at the moment. Two days ago President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in power for 33 years, promised to step down 'in a few days'. It seems very few believe him. The day before his announcement Tawakul Karman, a Yemeni woman was announced as one of three winners of this year's Nobel Peace Prize. 
Yemen's Catholics belong to the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia, which also includes Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Catholics number 2,129,000 or 3.4 percent of the overall population of 62,498,240. However, in 1950 they numbered 5,840 or 0.1 percent of 10,000,000. The increase in the number and percentage of Catholics is due to the influx of ov…