“Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations … Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom … May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us” (Psalm 90:1, 12, 17).
These are a few verses in this Psalm that promise hope. In between, we find a depiction of the shadow side of life, followed by pleading with God to fulfill the promise that mortality, failure and troubles are not the end of the story. What a span of life experience, written by one claiming to be Moses, moving from creation to death to beyond, from judgment to compassion, from sorrow to joy. The turning point in this Psalm is v. 12: Teach us to really see the days we are given, in order that our hearts may be wise.
In the gospel reading for today, Jesus, after being confronted by the Pharisees because his disciples were eating with unwashed hands, calls the religious leaders of his day hypocrites and then addresses the crowd with much the same message. This time the focus is on failure or sin. Jesus’ list of evils which make one truly unclean is all-encompassing—from specific behaviors to general attitudes (greed, envy, arrogance, malice). Once again, what is in our hearts is the key. Jesus repeats it twice: nothing outside of us can make us unacceptable—nothing anyone says or does, no circumstance in our experience, no rules someone else imposes. All that is important is the condition of our hearts!
Dear Lord, may my heart be filled with the wisdom of your Spirit, so that the work of my hands may be favorable in your sight.