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Daily Mass Reflections - 1/17/19

Updated on January 17, 2020

“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts” ~ Psalm 95

In today’s 1st Reading (Hebrews 3:7-14) Saint Paul warns against the cultivation of an evil and unfaithful heart, one that can easily fall prey to the deceit of sin. Everywhere you look today, hardened hearts prevail. One need only look at today’s society and our subsequent laws on matters pertaining to capital punishment, abortion and euthanasia to see that life, oftentimes the most innocent and defenseless of life, is viewed as indispensable. Obedience has given way to rebellion, whether it be the pastor of a mega-church telling his large throng of followers that they no longer need to abide by the 10 Commandments or a Catholic refusing to keep holy the Lord’s Day, rationalizing away their acedia by explaining that they can pray within the confines of their home. In doing so, they relegate the celebration of the Holy Mass to something of a minor inconvenience. It’s this type of disobedience, rooted largely in bravado and ignorance, that Saint Paul warns against. He goes on to remind us that “we have become partners of Christ if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end.” Perseverance in the face of the deception that is the secular attitude.

If one truly believed that God is with us, would he or she really ignore or selectively follow his teachings? If one truly believed that Jesus’ body, blood, soul and divinity was present in the Eucharist, would he or she ever skip Sunday Mass? If one truly believed that Jesus went to the cross for our sins, wouldn’t our response be far more vibrant, grateful and loving?

Rampant materialism, desensitization, and the never ending desire for entertainment and stimulation have without question hardened our hearts and distracted us from focusing on that which is life giving, that which is eternal.

In today’s Gospel (Mark 1:40-45) wherein Jesus cleanses the leper, in addition to instructing the man not to tell anyone of what just transpired, Jesus also tells him to “go show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing that which Moses prescribed.” Perhaps Jesus is instructing this man to return to the Temple because it is a place he hasn’t visited for far too long. As Bishop Barron points out in his Daily Gospel Meditation this morning, “To worship is to order the whole of one’s life toward the living God, and, in doing so, to become interiorly and exteriorly rightly ordered. To worship is to signal to oneself what one’s life is finally about. It’s nothing that God needs, but it is very much something that we need.”

Obedience to the practice of worship and prayer is the best remedy for a hardened heart. Through the workings of the Holy Spirit, may we seek to vigorously weave prayer throughout our day so as to soften our heart to God’s call for each of our lives.

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