Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wanted: Your Heart

Wanted:  Your Heart

Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

By Colleen O'Sullivan

Brothers and sisters:  Such confidence we have through Christ toward God.  Not that of ourselves we are qualified to take credit for anything as coming from us; rather, our qualification comes from God, who has indeed qualified us as ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life.  (2 Corinthians 3:4-6)
Jesus said to his disciples:  “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.  I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”  (Matthew 5:17)


Lord, may my heart be yours.


Over the years, I’ve known people with many different attitudes toward work.  Sometimes I’ve gotten phone calls in the morning from co-workers who report they are sick and not coming in that day or that they’re stuck in traffic on the Beltway and will be late, etc.  These things happen to all of us.  The calls that both amuse and frustrate me are the ones that go like this:  I’m here.  I was 8 minutes late and I’ll make up the 8 minutes at the end of the day, as if we’re working to some unwritten contract.  What I hear is: I’m going to give you my 8 hours to the minute.  Nothing less and nothing more.  I’ll have fulfilled my duty.  Don’t expect any team spirit from me or any personal investment in my work.  I’ll give you 40 hours; you give me a paycheck.
In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul intimates that many of us employ this working to contract mentality in our spiritual lives.  What’s the minimum we need to do to pass muster with God?  Let me see the list.  Honored my parents (took them out on Mother’s and Father’s Days). Check.  Went to Mass every Sunday.  Check.  Haven’t coveted anyone else’s spouse. Check.  And so on.  Good as far as it goes, but both Jesus and Paul call us to move beyond the letter of the law.  If that’s all we care about, we’re like the Pharisees.  Our hearts are hardened.  We become self-righteous.  Paul goes so far as to say that “the letter brings death…” 
We Christians are living under a new covenant, which is of the spirit.  God doesn’t want us spending time figuring out what’s the minimum we can do; God wants our all.  He sent his Son into the world to save us from our sins.  Our Savior gave all he had to give, all his love, his very life, for us.  In return, he asks us to love God with all our heart, and to follow his example in laying down his life for his friends.  Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets.  He doesn’t throw out the commandments or the law.  The words of the prophets are still full of wisdom.  Jesus calls us to a deeper spiritual life than merely observing the letter of the law.  He wants our hearts.


In the next chapter of his Gospel, Matthew records Jesus saying, “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”  (Matthew 6:21)  Where is your treasure?  How do you use your time and your money?  What does the answer say about whether or not God has all your heart?    

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