The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord;
he turns it wherever he will.
All deeds are right in the sight of the doer,
but the Lord weighs the heart.
To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to want.
The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death.
The souls of the wicked desire evil; their neighbours find no mercy in their eyes.
When a scoffer is punished, the simple become wiser;
when the wise are instructed, they increase in knowledge.
The Righteous One observes the house of the wicked; he casts the wicked down to ruin.
If you close your ear to the cry of the poor, you will cry out and not be heard.
Theyare happy whose life is blameless,
who follow God's law!
Make me grasp the way of your precepts
and I will muse on your wonders. (R./)
I have chosen the way of truth
with your decrees before me.
Train me to observe your law,
to keep it with my heart. (R./)
Guide me in the path of your commands;
for there is my delight.
I shall always keep your law
for ever and ever. (R./)
The mother and brothers of Jesus came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. And he was told, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you." But he said to them, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it."
Most of the sapiential literature, notably the Book of Proverbs, is based on common sense and practical wisdom. What has succeeded for others can throw light on dealing with our own problems. It needs no detailed study in order to understand its message. It teaches people to be open, honest, reflective, humble, strong, to use their foresight to avoid dangers, and show goodwill to their neighbours. Everyone can appreciate the everyday wisdom in the Bood of Proverbs: The one who makes a fortune by a lying tongue is chasing a bubble over deadly snares.
Whether we take a mystical view of life, or the pragmatic way of Proverbs, we must keep a healthy openness to the real world and review the quality of our relationships with others. Perhaps that was what Jesus meant in his enigmatic reply to his mother Mary and his brothers. It only seems like a rejection of them when he says, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it"; for elsewhere Luke shows Mary as the great hearer of the Word. But to know God's word we must be open to all who are sincere, virtuous, obedient and responsive to life.
We venerate Jesus as Lord and as Son of God, because so indeed he is. In today's gospel, however, Jesus identifies those who hear the word of God and put it into practice as his mother and brothers and sisters, as his family. In spite of his unique status and his unique relationship with God, he makes us members of his family. He loves us as his siblings and wants us to relate to him as our brother. For this to become our daily we need to listen to the word of God and put it into practice.
The attention of Jesus was completely focussed on doing the will of God. He heard that word and took it in so completely that it shaped all that he said and did. John's gospel goes so far as to say that Jesus is the Word, the Word made flesh. The essence of our baptismal calling is to hear the word and to live by it. Like the seed that fell on good soil, we are to hear the word and take it to ourselves and yield a harvest of worthy service. If we really listen to the word of God so that it shapes who we are and what we do, then Jesus can delight in us as his true family.