Did you know over five hundred song titles with the word heart? Our hearts can be achy breaky, totally eclipsed, left in San Francisco, cold, gold, broken, and hearts can go on and on. The heart is a symbol of love, and as Valentine’s Day approaches, we find our homes, greeting cards, and countless floral bouquets adorned with this symbol of love.
Today’s gospel challenges us to examine our hearts. “But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him. From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.” I recently experienced a situation that left me with a broken, aching heart. My heart ached not only for me but for the person who defiled themselves, and I had evil thoughts in retaliation. Imagine how Jesus must feel when we defile ourselves by hurting others.
When we gather to celebrate Eucharist, we come forward to receive the love of God in Jesus. None of us are perfect. We approach the altar defiled and broken, seeking healing and forgiveness. The heart of Jesus greets us wide open, loving, forgiving, compassionate, and merciful.
In a letter to Mrs. Josephine Gourd, Saint Eymard writes: “May your heart ever belong to God through purity of intentions, by attachment to his love, by trust in his divine mercy. Often make aspirations of love towards this good master. These aspirations are for the soul what breathing is to the heart. They are its life.”
In our world of brokenness, hatred, and prejudice, will your heart be a symbol of the love received in the Eucharist or hardened and defiled?
A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me. Cast me not out from your presence, and your holy spirit take not from me. Give me back the joy of your salvation, and a willing spirit sustain in me. Amen. (Psalm 51:12-140)
Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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