Keep my soul in peace before you, O Lord
Our readings this week are both a harsh criticism of how some aspects of established religion can lead us to pride, and also a gentle teaching on simplicity and humility.
In the First Reading, Malachi has hard words for the priests who have strayed and led others to stumble.
Jesus, too, in the Gospel criticizes the leaders who lay heavy burdens on the people – those who only think of their own importance, rather than of teaching God’s word and care for others.
However, the words of St Paul to the Thessalonians in the Second Reading are in great contrast. He reveals a maternal affection for his people, and is willing to give up everything for them so as to spread the Good News. He is full of thanksgiving for God’s work in them.
The Psalm is a beautiful prayer of humble trust in the Lord, with the image of a child resting in his mother’s arms. We are encouraged to hope in God whatever comes.
Perhaps this week, awareness of our closeness to God will lead us to humble prayer rather than empty practice.