Sts. Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Priest, and Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Comp., Martyrs
Proverbs 21:1-6,10-13 + Luke 8:19-21
September 20, 2022
“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”
Today’s First Reading is from the Book of Proverbs. A “proverb” is a very short saying—often only one sentence long—that reveals some little bit of wisdom. Almost every culture in the world, and throughout time, has its own proverbs. In our own country, one of the Founding Fathers—Benjamin Franklin—spent a lot of his time creating proverbs for the first Americans to reflect on: such as, “A stitch in time saves nine”, or “A penny saved is a penny earned.” These proverbs, if we reflect on them, can help us be smarter in the way that we lead our lives in this world.
The proverbs that we hear in the Bible, though, come from God. These proverbs are not just about helping us lead a better life in this world: the Book of Proverbs also helps us get to the world to come, which is Heaven.
The proverbs of the Bible are bite-sized. When we hear from the Book of Proverbs at Mass, we’re hearing a whole bunch of proverbs at once. The simplest way to gain spiritual profit from the Book of Proverbs is to take just one proverb—usually just one sentence—and repeat it, over and over, in our heart, mind and soul.
Today, we might take the very last sentence of today’s First Reading: “He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor / will himself also call and not be heard.” What does this mean? Is this proverb talking about you? Who are the poor in my midst, and what can I do to help them?
We should turn this proverb over in our soul, keeping in mind the words of the Lord Jesus in today’s Gospel passage: “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”