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Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time [II]

Reading I Kings 10:1-10
Gospel Mark 7:14-23

The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.

Today’s Responsorial comes from Psalm 37. The refrain—“The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom”—is the beginning of one of the Entrance Antiphons for the first Mass from the Common of Doctors of the Church. Such luminaries as St. Augustine of Hippo and St. Thomas Aquinas inspire us with their dedication to wisdom. They sacrificed of themselves in order to be instruments by which God could communicate His wisdom to others. How can we understand this refrain in regard to ourselves on this weekday in Ordinary Time?

One of the notable features of this passage from Psalm 37 is that it actually speaks more directly about the Lord than about “the just”. Why is this? The psalm makes it clear that the Lord is the source of all that is good in man. The refrain demonstrates this: the just man “murmurs wisdom” and “utters what is right” because the “law of his God is in his heart”.

This message from Psalm 37 stands in a certain contrast to Jesus’ words in the Gospel. Jesus speaks at length, and quite unflatteringly, about what comes from “within the man, from his heart”. He mentions 13 evils, though one gets the impression that He could just as easily have continued. Here Jesus is describing the fallen human heart that does not have the law of God within. Jesus wants us to realize our utter need for the law of grace if we are to transcend our fallen selves, and serve as instruments of God’s Wisdom.