Tuesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Prv 21:1-6,10-13; Ps 119:1,27,30,34,35,44; Lk 8:19-21
“Keep it with all my heart.”

With today’s psalm we pray for the LORD to be our guide in the way of his commands. We pray for his guidance because without it our hearts will never learn wisdom. Until we keep the Law of the LORD with all our hearts we are bound to go astray. In the wisdom of the Rule of Saint Benedict we read that one should never long to be called holy till in fact he is holy. Indeed, being blessed is about being blameless. Until we walk in the law of the LORD we never know what it means to be blessed. We long for a more profound understanding of the way of God’s precepts; this is only possible if we meditate upon his wondrous deeds. As the longer version of the First Commandment makes clear, the reason we worship and love God alone and avoid idols is because the LORD has brought us out of Egypt, that land of captivity. Our loyalty to the LORD is dependant upon his favor and kindness to us while we were yet in slavery, captive to sin, concupiscence, and vice. Indeed, the way of truth is the way of God’s ordinances. The LORD never commands us to do anything that is not faithful to who we are and to whom we belong. “You are mine!” The LORD cries through the prophet, and this revelation is our deepest joy. The discernment of the LORD is necessary to observe God’s Law and to keep it with a whole heart. Anything less than a whole heart is not worthy of our own dignity, much less of the Lord’s dignity. Indeed, the longer we are led in the path of the LORD’s commands the greater delight is found in the hearts of all who obey. Such faithful love grows in the context of keeping his law continually, forever and ever. Proverbs meditates on the human heart and it its flexibility in the hands of the LORD. The family of the Lord Jesus is those who hear the word of God and act upon it. Membership in this family demands seeking true wisdom and to living a life of constancy.

What a complement to the king! If the reference is to King David, it is not quite accurate. Perhaps, Proverbs is speaking of an ideal king. Indeed, this description is about the best king possible. If the king’s heart is like a stream in the hand of the LORD, the nation has nothing to fear. However, few of the kings of Israel and Judah have lived in such openness to the will of God. Indeed, the Lord alone proves hearts, and it is best for the king and for all his people that both have a healthy self-doubt. Without some outside guidance about what is right and just, we will not be able to offer a sacrifice that pleases the LORD. We are all too hasty in our discernment; we need greater diligence and a more complete analysis for our decisions and dilemmas. Deliberate deception is deadly when it comes to fulfilling expectations in politics or in business. Without pity our hearts become solid darkness; we are slaves of every evil desire. Only humble men learn from mistakes and successes do not blind the hearts of the lowly. Only the just can evaluate the seeming success of the wicked and see it for what it is, injustice and oppression. If we want to be heard in our time of need, we will not close our hearts to the cries of the needy. Wisdom is attentive to life, and those who grow in wisdom are truly alive. Without wisdom there is no life.

It takes wisdom to belong to the family of the Lord Jesus. It takes wisdom and not blood. The natural relatives of the Lord Jesus are mentioned very seldom in the gospels, perhaps because they, too, had to believe in him in order to belong to his family. Saint Luke presents these relatives in the most positive light. Unlike the other synoptic authors, Saint Luke does not have the Lord Jesus ask the painful question “Who are my mother and my brothers?” within their hearing. Also, they are not pursuing the Lord because they are afraid that he has lost his mind. They were simply unable to join him because of the crowd. In this account, Saint Luke contrasts the crowd with the family. His family is made up of those who hear the word of God and act on it. The crowd is composed of people who are seeking. They may or may not hear his teaching as the word of God, and they may or may not act upon what they hear. It takes wisdom to hear in the teaching of Jesus the word of God that will reorder all human relationships. In this Eucharist we taste and see the goodness of the LORD, and this relationship of intimacy with Christ Jesus makes every other relationship new. Now, we see everything in the Light of His Truth. Now, we order all our activity in the Light of His Love.