FARAWAY HEARTS (Mk 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23): 30 August 2009 (Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Today you quote the prophet Isaiah as you complain about the Pharisees:
This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.
But for all we know, you could be complaining about us. For all I know, you could be complaining about me. You say you dislike mere lip service because you want nothing less than our hearts. When I hear your words, I can’t help but recall my faraway heart.
Where is my heart? What keeps it away from you?
I can think of many things: Of course, the first that comes to mind would be my sins. Nothing beats my sins in terms of keeping my heart far from you. But it’s not that you pack up your bags and leave whenever I fail. It’s just that in doing the bad things that I do, when I hurt others or myself, I diminish myself, and the distance between us grows.
But there are also the “good things,” things that attract me and keep me away from you. There is so much in the world that can preoccupy me, and though they are good in themselves–good times, good work, good relationships–these can blind me and keep my eyes on them and not on you.
Lord, today I find myself in the midst of things, swamped with work and concerns, facing all sorts of deadlines. When I say my prayers, I catch myself rushing through them–yes, paying you nothing more than lip service. I can’t seem to slow down, but no matter how much I have to run around, Lord, help me keep my eyes always fixed on you. More importantly, never let my heart wander far from you. Amen.