Friday, 5th Week of Lent
We have heard how strongly Jesus’ own people opposed him. It may baffle us that so many of Jesus’ fellow Jews rejected him. Yet, we must always remember that opposition to Jesus resides within every human heart, including our own.
Yes, the Jews witnessed the great things Jesus had done and they heard the wonderful teachings of Jesus. But when they were confronted with their own sin and need for repentance, it became hard to accept Jesus.
Are we not like this? In spite of the great things God has done and continues to do for us, we have not fully accepted and embraced God’s will. No matter how many miracles or great things we may see, it will never be enough to convince us. Something has to change within our hearts.
This message strikes a chord in all of us. God wants us to recognize our opposition to him so that through repentance we can turn to him. That is why the call of the Lord to us, particularly this Lenten season is: “Return to me with all your heart.”
At the start of this holy season, I said that Lent must be a time of fixing our hearts: that is, we must cleanse our hearts of pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy and sloth. How? By receiving God’s mercy and forgiveness.
We must fix our hearts that have been badly damaged by worldliness, materialism, secularism, relativism, hedonism. How? By prayerfully listening to God’s word.
We must set right our hearts that have been disoriented with selfish matters. How? By following what Jesus says: “Set your hearts on God’s kingdom first… and all other things will be given to you as well.”
We must straighten our hearts that have been distorted by worldly values and wrong priorities. How? By forming them with the gospel values of fairness and justice, of simplicity and poverty, of mercy and forgiveness, of compassion and love.
We must empty our hearts of envy and jealousy, of prejudice and judgment, of anger and hatred, of bitterness and unforgiveness, of revenge and violence – so that they can be filled with the grace of God.
We must let our hearts be healed by God’s love. Let us strive to make as our offering to the Lord our converted and renewed hearts.