What is Found in You? (June 12, 2016)

The Missalette we use at St. Paul’s has a brief introduction to each weekend’s readings. That introduction is followed by a question for reflection, and I thought this weekend’s was pretty good: “A humble, contrite heart, or a proud, hardened one: Which can be found in you?”

Personally I try to tend towards the humble contrite heart, but I also know there are elements of the proud and haughty heart within me. For example, if someone were to criticize me (like Nathan did to David in the First Reading) my instinctive reaction is “No, you’re wrong!” I sometimes choose to ignore another’s needs because I don’t like him/her, or because I’m running late, or because I have “more important” things to do. If a call to anoint someone comes in the middle of the night or when I’m spending time with a friend, I’ll sometimes get a little resentful. There’s a group of people who at the Saturday afternoon Mass sit in the lounge area instead of coming into the chapel with everyone else, and they spend a lot of time chatting amongst themselves. I want to get in their face and challenge them: “Do you really think you’re attending Mass?” Sometimes there’s irritation at people who make a big deal out of their aches and pains.

I’m sure you can find similar tendencies within yourself. Taken one at a time, it doesn’t mean we’re hardhearted. But the danger is that all these irritations can become a way of life or a way of thinking about other people (or about God or myself) which ruins any possibility of a relationship with others, and yes, even with God.

The filmmaker George Lucas is quoted as having said, “We are all living in cages with the door wide open.” The readings this weekend all emphasize that forgiveness and mercy lead us out of the cages that hold us captive. We can always choose to change our ways of thinking and acting. If we can, and if we do, then the words of Jesus to the sinful woman: “Many sins are forgiven her because she has loved much. Go in peace.”

Love deeply, laugh often, pray faithfully!

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