Meditation for the Day

Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time, February 12

May This Most Awesome Gift, God’s Profound and Indescribable Love for Us, Be What We Truly Cherish and Cling to in Life, For It Is What Shapes Who We Are and What We Become As a Faithful Follower of Christ.

We read in today’s Gospel our Lord teaching the crowds as well as the Pharisees and scribes who were standing nearby, “Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.”

Many years ago, I believe it was in the 1980’s, my late wife and I knew this couple, about the same age as we were. The husband had a good job working for a reputable company. And his wife was a “stay-at-home mom” – a loving mother and a good housewife.

They lived in a modest home and always enjoyed doing things together with their teenage son as a family. If one were to view this family from the outside, not really knowing them personally, one might say that they were the ideal family you would find on one of the early TV shows in the 50’s and 60’s, such as “Leave it to Beaver” or “Father Knows Best”.

But appearances can oftentimes be very deceiving. The reality was far different than one would perceive by just looking at them.

Yes, they loved each other. Yes, they enjoyed spending quality time together. But, in reality, there’s was a life of complete selfishness. Materialism and secularistic pleasures were their gods. And they would profess their belief that one should live each day to the fullest regarding personal desires and pleasures.

And they passed this way of thinking and behavior onto their teenage son – which, unfortunately, contributed in a very negative way to his own moral development, during a time in any teenager’s life which can oftentimes become fraught with all sorts of confusing thoughts and feelings.

Sadly, as a consequence of the parents’ beliefs and lifestyle, their son began to accept and revel in the idea that personal gratification in any form was his ultimate goal – his only happiness. He embraced the philosophy that, if his parents believed in it, then it must be okay.

But Jesus is reminding us today that what we really become, who we really are as a people of God, results from what wells up from within our hearts, what is really within us at the core of our very being.

Our Lord was first responding to a particular point regarding the dietary laws and ritual defilement of His time for Judaism. But Jesus takes these traditions of ritual purification and places them in context of the Kingdom of God, where these arbitrary rules have no real meaning.

And He declares that moral defilement is the only cause of uncleanness – that it was not about the foods that a person eats that would make one impure, rather the notions and inclinations which emanate from within the heart.

“From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder…” – and all the other evils He lists which come from within which defile us. On the contrary, that which comes from the heart and which is good and holy makes us righteous and pleasing in the sight of God.

We see something of this in our First Reading for today when the Queen of Sheba comes to visit King Solomon in Jerusalem, since she had heard so much about his wisdom and his grace. She looked around and observed all the blessings that accompanied Solomon – his wisdom, the palace, the food, the attire of those who were attending to his needs, the offerings he made at the Temple, and Scripture tells us, “…she was breathless.”

It was not the appearance of wealth and riches which made Solomon great, but rather it was the gift of wisdom dwelling within his heart, the gift with which God had filled him, which inspired him and made him great as a leader for the people of Israel.

Overwhelmed by all that she had observed, the Queen of Sheba exclaimed, “Blessed be the LORD, your God, whom it has pleased to place you on the throne of Israel. In his enduring love for Israel, the LORD has made you king to carry out judgment and justice.”

The challenge for you and me today is that, no matter what we might build up around us – be it material goods or personal possessions, no matter what blessings might be a part of our lives – these are things which should not make us who we are.

But rather, it is the Presence of Christ within us – through prayer, Word and Sacrament – who molds us and guides us, enabling you and me, in the very depths of our being, at the very core of who we are as a people of God, to become all that He needs us to be on this side of the eternal, for the sake of His Kingdom here on Earth.

Our focus today needs to be on what is within our heart, at the center of who we truly are. And in the core of the believer, the follower of Jesus, is the Presence of His Holy Spirit. And it is the gifts of the Spirit which influence us and help us to become who we are called to be as a vital member of His Body, the Church.

As a potter molds clay, may Almighty God, in His providential care which He holds for each and every one of us, mold and form us into the likeness of His Divine Son, so that you and I may imitate His Goodness in all that we say, in all that we do from the very depths of our being!

And may we, as faithful followers of Christ, give thanks for the gift of God’s profound and indescribable Love which He has for you and me this day, and may this most awesome gift be what we truly cherish, what we truly cling to!

For it is what shapes who we are and what we become each and every day as we journey through life!

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Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.

Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.

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Scripture for the Day

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Prayer for the Day

“O Wound of Mercy, Heart of Jesus,

hide me in Your depths

as a drop of Your own Blood,

and do not let me out forever!

Lock me in Your depths,

and do You Yourself teach me to love You!

“Eternal Love,

do You Yourself form my soul

that it be made capable of returning Your love.

O living Love, enable me to love You forever,

I yearn to eternally reciprocate Your love.”

Saint Faustina (Diary, 1631)

2 thoughts on “Meditation for the Day

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