February 12, 2020 – Wednesday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021220.cfm)
How do we understand the human heart?
From a medical point of view, it is a “hollow muscular organ” that serves as a pump controlling the blood flow into our body.
From a psychological aspect, the heart refers to the emotion of a person, the “affective aspect” of an individual.
However, from a biblical point of view, and from the understanding of Jesus, the “heart” is more than a muscular organ and more than the emotion of a person.
The heart is the person’s individuality and the primary aspect of our personhood – that makes us who we are. It is where we are affected by a relationship with God and with one another.
This is what Jesus was talking about in the Gospel when he refers to the human heart. There was this law among the Jews that prohibits certain kinds of food that they should not eat. There were also practices that one should observe before eating because they have believed that those food and if those practices are not carefully followed like washing before eating, they will compromise the person. It means that, when a Jew does not follow the prescribed law in eating then he/she commits sin and becomes unclean.
However, Jesus criticized the people of his time for making those laws more important. Hence, he said that no matter what kind of food or drink we take it would not affect our human heart. What matters most is what comes out from the human heart.
Today, Jesus is challenging us to discern and see the values that we nurture in our hearts.
If we are nurturing hate, anger and suspicion then the way we relate with others is motivated by these and so we become persons who always see negative in everything. Hate, anger and suspicion make our relationships bitter and insecure. It is the same when our hearts will only seek self-approval, personal gain and entitlement. Through these deep motivations in our hearts then we become self-serving Christians who will only think of the self even at the expense of other people.
We are called now to nurture the values of the Gospel in our hearts that will make us confident in God who loves us. Thus, our heart shall only seek truth and honesty, trust and faith. Yes, truth and honesty – so that our hearts will not remain pretentious and arrogant, and we will not cover ourselves with the façade of a good image; but honest enough to recognize our weaknesses, failures and sins. This will hopefully make us more trustful and faithful to God who promised to show mercy on us, to help us and to redeem us.
In order to make our hearts more like Jesus, let us ask the guidance of Our Mother of Perpetual Help that our heart may become always attuned to the Gospel by listening to the Word of God and in welcoming Jesus in our hearts. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR