May the light of holiness shine in your hearts!
The first reading from Sirach tells us that if we choose, we can live God’s commandments! Following this bold, clear statement, the sage adds that there are two roads: one is toward good, the other is toward evil. It is obvious that we believe in God, we believe in Jesus and we believe that there is right and wrong. If we didn’t share these same beliefs, we wouldn’t come here to worship together. But believing these things and truly taking them to heart and living them out in concrete ways requires a conscious choice and an effort. The teachings of Jesus remind us that there is more to true Christian living than just having good intentions. Jesus points out that what is present and active inside a person’s heart is already known to God and if what is there is not good, it needs to change. We need to know that. We also need God’s grace to push the wrong things out of our hearts. We can blame other people or use them as an excuse for our own hardness of heart. Change from within removes barriers that cause us unhappiness, distress, tension in our relationships and separation from God. We all want to be good and do the right thing! We want good things to happen! Sometimes things just go the wrong way or we don’t take the steps we should to correct them. Today, Jesus points to our hearts as the starting point of our words and actions and that we are accountable for what is there; no one else. St. Paul provides a special key—it all revolves around forgiving and being forgiven and that leads us to the Cross of Jesus! The Cross is where every sin must go: every hurt must be laid down there, every offense committed must seek mercy there. Every heart finds cleansing and instruction on how to live before the Cross of Jesus. If there is something in your heart that needs to change, don’t wait! Ask the Lord for help today! Ask for forgiveness, and give the gift that you are given! +++ Fr. Peter