04 March 2010

"Incline your hearts to the Lord" (Joshua 24:23)

In today’s Epistle, the Lord speaks through the prophet Jeremiah, saying: “Blessed be the man that trusts in the Lord, and the Lord shall be his confidence. And he shall be as a tree that is planted by the waters, that spreads out its roots towards moisture; and it shall not fear when the heat comes. And the leaf thereof shall be green, and in the time of drought it shall not be solicitous, neither shall it cease at any time to bring forth fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).

Similar words are given to us by the Holy Spirit through the psalmist: “And he shall be like a tree which is planted near the running waters, which shall bring forth its fruit, in due season. And his leaf shall not fall off; and all whatsoever he shall do shall prosper” (Psalm 1:3). And he shall be like this fruitful tree because he avoids the occasion of sin and “his will is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he shall meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2).

Back to today’s Epistle, our Lord says: “I am the Lord Who search the heart and prove the reins: Who gives to every one according to his way, and according to the fruit of his devices” (Jeremiah 17:10). When Samuel was sent to Bethlehem to find the Lord’s chosen king, God said to Samuel: “Look not on his countenance, nor on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him, nor do I judge according to the look of man, for man sees those things that appear, but the Lord beholds the heart” (1 Kings [1 Samuel] 16:7). And Jesus said: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Saint Luke 12:34).

All this fits well into the season of Lent and the call of the Lord through the prophet Joel: “Be converted to Me with all your heart, in fasting and in weeping and in mourning. And rend your hearts and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God” (Joel 2:12-13). Lent is the recognition that the human heart is not always focused on the Lord, is not always right with the Lord; that there are plenty of times which, although “strangers and pilgrims” (1 Saint Peter 2:11), sometimes this foreign land can be all too enticing. But by turning to the Lord, looking “not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18), awaiting good and faithful servants is the reward of entering into the joy of the Lord (cf. Saint Matthew 25:21), and no longer being strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints (cf. Ephesians 2:19). This is the reward which guarantees eternal prospering!

May our Blessed Lady, who keeps all things of Jesus in her Immaculate Heart (cf. Saint Luke 2:19), lay them upon our hearts and help us to keep those “hearts on her strength” (Psalm 47 [48]:14)!