“O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor haughty my eyes. I have not gone after things too great nor marvels beyond me. Truly I have set my soul in silence and peace. A weaned child on its mother’s breast, even so is my soul.”

The prayer of the responsorial psalm, with its call to humble contemplation, is in sharp contrast to the prophet Malachi’s condemnation of the priests in the Old Testament reading, and Jesus’s condemnation of the Scribes and Pharisees in the Gospel.

The contrast is surely deliberate. If we are to avoid the hypocrisy condemned in the priests, Scribes and Pharisees, we must surely begin with ourselves. If we truly rest in the Lord, surrendering ourselves to him in heart and mind, our lives will rarely betray his love.

The prophet Malachi preached during the period following the restoration of Israel after the exile and destruction of Jerusalem. This had been a period of high expectation, but those hopes had been disappointed. The priests, charged with the sanctification of God’s people, had clearly failed in their calling.

Their transgressions are not described in detail, but their lives had clearly failed to mirror God’s holiness and compassion for his people. “You have strayed from the way, you have caused many to stumble by your teaching. You have shown partiality

in your administration.”

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