Walk Humbly, But Walk
Twenty-Fifth Week of Year II Tuesday September 20
The Responsorial Psalm asks for enlightenment — “Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands”— because “they are happy… who follow God’s law” (Psalm 119).
Proverbs 21: 1-13 says some things that every believer instructed in God’s word should know. But Christians are also aware that this knowledge is given to them so that they can guide the human race toward happiness — in this world and the next. We are committed by our baptismal consecration as stewards of the kingship of Christ to use the gift of our knowledge for others. We are responsible for doing this at all the points of contact we have with the human race: in our family and social life, in our business and civic relationships. In every area and activity of human life in which we are involved, we are responsible for exercising leadership to bring about changes. We cannot rest content with the status quo anywhere we are until God’s reign is total.
Proverbs warns us to do this with humility, intent on self-knowledge, because “the Lord weighs the heart.” We need to act “virtuously and with justice,” not with a “haughty eye and proud heart” like know-it-alls, but thoughtfully and prudently, without “too much haste.” We must pray always, “Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.” But we need to act.
In Luke 8: 19-21 Jesus declares that our action on his words is what makes him recognize us as his “mother and brothers.” This is what shows we are related to him more closely than by biological kinship — even his biological relationship with Mary, Mother of God!
The most intimate, mystical relationship that all of us, including Mary, have with Jesus is through grace, our sharing in the life of God, which makes us Jesus’ own flesh and blood, his own body. By Baptism we “became Christ” (St. Augustine), and therefore became what he is as Prophet, Priest and King. But we only recognize and experience this relationship as real when we act as members of his body, moving in obedience to signals from Christ our head and letting him continue his mission on earth in us, expressing his own self in and through our human actions. Then we experience with St. Paul, “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.”1 When we “hear the word of God and put it into practice,” we know we have “become Christ” and that he is acting with us, in us and through us as Prophet, Priest and King. “Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.”