Thursday, March 12, 2015

Third Thursday of Lent

But [my people] obeyed not, nor did they pay heed.
They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts
and turned their backs, not their faces, to me...
Faithfulness has disappeared;
the word itself is banished from their speech.
Jeremiah 7:24, 28b

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
for I am gracious and merciful.
Joel 2:12-13

When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Luke 11:21-22

Nothing is more tiresome and tedious than sin. Reading about the people of ancient Israel can be dreadfully monotonous: God saves his people; they're grateful; they get complacent; they sin; disaster ensues; the people cry out to God; God saves his people... and so on and so on, for chapter after chapter of book after book. Ok, I get it, I got it after the first twenty times, I think while hearing such readings. But then I realize I didn't. I act like a jerk to my little brother, gossip about a coworker, ignore the homeless man at the intersection, skip praying, call down fire from heaven on the excellent drivers on the 101, feel bad about it... and do the same thing the next day or the next week. My own resolve (admittedly half-hearted at times) proves lacking when it comes to reforming my heart. I can be a prisoner to my own bad habits and reactions. I need something stronger.

Jesus comes in the Gospel exactly as the one who is stronger – this is how John the Baptist proclaims him, and how today's Gospel presents him. Jesus the Strong One offers himself to us in our weakness. He knocks on the door of our hearts, and when we let him in, he can overcome our ambivalence and make our hard hearts faithful. Opening the door can be as tremendous as a conversion experience; it can be as simple as directing oneself to Jesus with small words of gratitude or prayers for him to come closer.

How do you want to turn to God with your whole heart today? How do you want Jesus to bring his grace and mercy to you?

Reflected by Joshua Johnson

No comments:

Post a Comment