Continuing from yesterday’s Gospel, Jesus again uses the Pharisees’ concern about ritual purity when eating to teach us to be concerned about our spiritual purity. Spiritual purity isn’t based on the cleanliness of our hands but on the cleanliness of our hearts in our words and actions. Spiritual purity has at its source the condition of our heart.
Our first reading today speaks to the source of bothpurity and impurity in our hearts. God created Man (capitalized to mean all humans) and placed him in the Garden of Eden to take care of all of God’s creation. We received our life from God. Physical death, and spiritual death through sin, entered our lives through Man’s disobedience. Sin is what defiles the heart, and therefore makes us impure. Jesus lists the sins that come out of us from an impure heart. This list shows that we are prone to sin with our thoughts, words, and actions. God allowed the fallen angel, Satan, to tempt Man in the Garden of Eden. We too are subject to sinful thoughts and desires placed in our minds by Satan.
When sinful thoughts and desires come knocking at the door of your heart, how do you respond? Do you entertain them and allow them to overtake you? Fortunately, God does not leave us alone in our struggle with hurtful desires and sinful tendencies. He gives us the grace and strength we need to resist and overcome sin when it comes to the door of our heart.
It’s sometimes hard to understand, but God loves us so much, that He gives us the freedom to choose to love and obey Him. He does not force His will on us like a tyrant. True joy and happiness come when we freely choose to obey God and strive to keep our hearts pure. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is God’s grace that makes our hearts pure. Again, He loves us so much that He allows us to freely choose to come to Him with a contrite heart and a desire to repent.
True joy and happiness reside in our hearts. Our purpose here on earth is to respond with love to our God who is Love, and thus prepare for the eternal joy and happiness to come in heaven. The choice is ours. Let’s choose to live with pure hearts today.
Today’s Question for Prayer and Reflection
Do you believe in the power of God's love to heal, change, and transform your heart and mind?