Sunday, Jul. 31st 2016

Sunday Reflection: Harden Not Your Hearts

In today’s First Reading we are presented with this question: “For what profit comes to a man from all the toil and anxiety of heart with which he has labored under the sun?”

Qooheleth, the protagonist of the book, Ecclesiastes, has had the thought many of us have had. What is the point to life? We labor day in and day out, and most of the time it seems like we are going nowhere. One is left with a dismal view of the world after hearing the words “vanities of vanity,” especially when we look around and see all of the horrible things that are happening in today’s world. Many times I am left with the question of what am I to do? How can I change any of this? I think many of us have asked ourselves those questions.

The words from the Responsorial Psalm come to mind in an attempt to answer these questions. “If today you hear His voice harden not your heart.”

I have always thought this meant, if on this day Jesus knocks on your heart you should hear him, but possibly it is meant to be understood as Jesus is always knocking on your heart, seeking entry, and if you hear Him then let Him in. “If today you hear His voice harden not your heart.” I urge you to let Him in.

That is what we can do to change the world. By allowing Jesus into our hearts, He brings with Himself the grace to conform our heart to His Sacred Heart. In the Second Reading, we hear Paul give us the outline to open our hearts to Jesus. “Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly; immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and the greed that is idolatry.” These things hurt our relationship with Jesus and for this reason, these acts must be avoided. Everything that causes us to sin must be avoided. Sin blocks the fountain of Grace that Jesus seeks to pour out upon us and when we remove sin from our lives and ask Jesus to enter our lives, He will.

When Jesus enters our lives, He brings graces and gifts; some of these gifts can be for our souls, like a greater store of patience, being more merciful, or even consolation in prayer. Other times Jesus can bring physical gifts like a child to parents or a job to someone who is looking for one. All we have to do is trust in Him. Though Jesus may bring us these gifts, He said in the Gospel “For though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” Ultimately, all that we have has been given to us from Jesus. The greatest gift Jesus has given us is a relationship with Him. Our lives consist of relationships. We are relational beings. Plainly and simply put, we are to build up the Kingdom of God with the gifts of Jesus has given us, and by allowing the light of Jesus to shine through us, we can change the world. So do not lose heart. Keep fighting the good fight because Jesus is there with us helping us with our every battle.

jtolberdJon Tolberd is a seminarian of the Diocese of Wichita, and will be entering his senior year at Conception Seminary College this fall.

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