I. Homily – Ordinary Time – August 29-30, 2015
II. “Beshrew that heart that makes my heart to groan,” begins William Shakespeare reminding us the close relationship between heart and true love.
A. Have you ever told anyone, “to YOU I give my heart?”
B. We all know or desire, one day, to give another our heart.
1. We may not use those words, but we know what they mean.
2. Although giving someone your heart means that you love them, it means much more than the love of chocolate or a new car or a sports team…it means much more than just the care or concern one must show to all those a Christian encounters…to give one’s heart is much, much more.
3. “Giving one’s heart” expresses a state of existence seldom repeated in our lifetime, not for want of trying but want of what it requires…”giving one’s heart” requires all one has and is…”giving one’s heart” requires work, permanence, abandonment and depth.
4. For how many times can one take one’s heart from one’s chest and hand it to another?
5. There are those who have been able to do it multiple times in a life…to a spouse or to one’s children but this is not done willy-nilly or without great effort and desire…for when one gives one’s heart, this means the giving of one’s self without hesitation or reservation…complete and total love…
a) …making oneself vulnerable to the beloved and trusting them with our lives.
b) Giving one’s heart is a gift of time, effort and self.
c) Giving one’s heart is not grounded in stuff…love is not measured in things…No…the measure of its sincerity is complete and total gift of self and not stuff…and, for the human person, this type of gift can be given only a limited number of times…because we are finite…we have a beginning and we have an end…
III. “Giving one’s heart,” this is what our Lord wanted from the scribes and Pharisees. He wanted them to give Him their heart and to prove this, he would give His heart to them…on the cross.
A. Our Lord mourns in the Gospel reading today, but it is a sorrow He has experienced before…
B. Our Lord speaks to the crowds: “This people honors me with their lips but their hearts are far from me…”
1. When Jesus challenges them, we might think he is rebuking them for choosing doctrine over freedom, but this is not His purpose…if it were His purpose, He would not make the long list of don’t’s He makes at the end of the passage…No…His purpose is far more basic…”GIVE ME YOUR HEART!”
2. He mourns: “This people honors me with their lips but their hearts are far from me…”
a) What he is saying is, “You have told me that you love me, but you have not given your heart to me.”
b) “You know the right things to say, but you don’t really love me.”
c) Here, He is not throwing out what God has taught of old…NO!…He is asking even MORE of them…He is asking them for their hearts!
C. The words He uses to make His point are the words His Father uttered to the Israelites hundreds of years before…they are the words written down by Isaiah the Prophet…God speaking to His people…and mourning that they have not given Him their hearts…for a long time.
1. There is nothing new here. God knew them…and…He knows us.
2. This is something that God had experienced time and time again and something He continues to experience.
3. After all, isn’t this the reason that Jesus came?
4. Does not Jesus, on the cross, literally give His heart to us? He allows His heart to be pierced out of love…more deeply than cupid’s arrow…more real than Cupid’s arrow.
5. Jesus’ heart, however, is the human heart of GOD and so, unlike most human hearts, this heart belonging to the Second Divine Person of the Holy Trinity gives His heart personally and individually to every human being who will have Him…because He is divine He is able to give this heart infinitely…
IV. How do we respond? How can we give our heart to Him?
A. We give it the same way we give it to someone we love here…but we give it first to God…without hesitation and permanently.
B. When we give our heart to the infinite God, then our God receives that heart, cherishes it and unites it to His own infinite heart…thereby God makes our heart capable of a love that goes beyond its human limits.
C. Put simply…although our heart is a human heart…although our heart is finite, when make that act of abandonment and trust and faith and love, Christ makes our heart to be the heart of His Son…infinite.
V. How do we love God in this way? Where do we begin?
A. Although our Lord said in the Gospel reading today, “Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile,” the opposite is also true, “What sanctifies a person is what comes from outside of him.”
B. When we receive the Eucharist, our Lord renews and deepens His residence within us. He comes to dwell inside of us.
C. What we are called to do is not to hide this presence but allow Him to take complete and total possession of us…our thoughts, our words and our actions.
D. We must also pray and pray as one giving our Lord, the one we love, our heart:
1. When we pray, we are not asking God for stuff…we are not just asking God, “Please do this for me” or “Please do this for that person…” This prayer of petition is good and thoughtful in caring for others, but there is another kind of prayer that should be primary in our life.
2. This type of prayer is the prayer that allows God’s Word in the scripture to form our minds and sink deep into our hearts…this type of prayer allows us to come to know God so that we might love Him and serve Him more perfectly.
3. This type of prayer concentrates on abandoning our own willfulness so that God will flows out of us…this prayer allows God to take complete and total possession of our hearts so that our heart is His heart.
E. We do this by taking time each day…even if it is only 15 minutes…to read the scripture readings of the day…once…twice or three times…reflecting on those words…thinking about what they mean and finally what our Lord is telling you, personally, right then…in that moment.
1. Essential to this prayer life are the Sacraments of Reconciliation and regular reception of the Holy Eucharist.
2. But, essential, is the taking of some time each day to read His Word and allow it to tough your heart and soul.
VI. If we do this, not only will we come to love our Lord more perfectly, but the depth with which we “give your heart” to those we love will deepen and our ability to love others will expand.
VII. We might, along with Shakespeare, find this love frightening to behold, because it asks everything…but there can be no more true love than the all-powerful and infinite God choosing to pierce His heart so that He might give it to us…Is this not the love we seek?
I. Homily – Ordinary Time – August 29-30, 2015