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July 13, 2018: Friday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time [II]

Reading Hosea 14:2-10
Gospel Matthew 10:16-23

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Today’s psalm especially draws out the spiritual themes of today’s Mass. Psalm 51 is unique among the 150 psalms: every Friday, it is the first psalm the Church prays at Morning Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours.

The psalm’s importance is understood better when we realize that the very first words the Church utters each morning in the Liturgy of the Hours come from this psalm: “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.” These words, the last sentence of today’s responsorial psalm, draw out a verse from today’s First Reading. All week long we have heard the prophet Hosea bringing the wayward Israelites back to their covenant with the Lord God. Today Hosea encourages them to make his words their own: “We shall say no more, ‘Our God,’ to the work of our hands; for in you the orphan finds compassion.”

The temptation to make idols out of the work of our hands is always before us. Yet the Church calls us to humility. When we pray the Liturgy of the Hours, our first prayer each day comes from God even before it comes from our lips: “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare thy praise.” Everything comes from the Lord, and everything is meant to return to the Lord.

Jesus Himself, only Son of the Father, is the embodiment of the wisdom expressed by the Psalmist and Hosea. He is the embodiment of self-sacrifice. His is the life that every disciple asks the Father for the grace to enter into. Even in the midst of the wolves and snakes of the world, when we lay our sins at the foot of the Cross, Christ can act within us.