Education of the Heart

A view from the inside of the Church of the Beatitudes overlooking the Lake of Galilee in the Holy Land. Photo by the author, April 2017.

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe, 03 March 2019, Week VIII, Year-C 1Samuel 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23///1Corinthians 15:45-49///Luke 6:27-38

For the past two Sundays we have been listening to some of Christ’s most sublime teachings filled with paradoxes that may sound like a folly for us humans because they all run contrary to the ways of the world.  Beginning with His Beatitudes, Jesus taught that true blessedness comes from being poor and hungry, when we are weeping and being maligned.  More difficult yet most sublime of all were His teachings last Sunday when He told us to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, and pray for those who mistreat us.

They are very, very difficult but doable in Christ Jesus who have taken all these lessons directly from life.  He knows very well how capable is our hearts in truly loving like Him. 

And so today, Jesus turns His attention to us His disciples who shall act as guides in putting into practice all His teachings through the education of our hearts.  It is in our hearts where all the good and evils around us originate from.  All the problems and sufferings we have in the world today like wars and various forms of violence, hunger and sexual exploitation, human trafficking and all kinds of injustice first happen right in our hearts.  Not in Syria or Jolo or the slums of Tondo or any other city in the world.  Jesus perfectly hit it right when He said, “A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks” (Lk.6:45).

In the first reading we find the same line of thinking during the Old Testament when Ben Sirach wrote, “When a sieve is shaken, the husks appear; so do one’s faults when he speaks.  As the test of what the potter molds is in the furnace, so in tribulation is the test of the just.  The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had; so too does one’s speech disclose the bent of one’s mind.  Praise no one before he speaks, for it is then that people are tested” (Sir.27:4-7).  Remember that in the Bible, speech and being always go together like when God created everything by simply speaking. 

And that is the whole point of Ben Sirach:  people reveal who they really are in the manner they speak as well as in the words they use to express their thoughts and feelings that all come from the heart.  Of all the creation by God, it is only the human person whom He had gifted with the ability to communicate intelligibly with speech.  Our ability to speak is in fact a sharing in the power of God who created everything by simply speaking.  But how do we use this great power of speech and communication?  Are we like the Spiderman convinced in our hearts that with great power comes great responsibility?

It is elections again in the country and sadly, it is more like a circus than a democratic process.  And the great tragedy we keep on repeating again and again is how most people put into office candidates without any qualifications at all and worst, deeply mired in every form of immorality and scandals.  Where is our heart that we allow blind people to lead us?  Or, have we become heartless that we have no regard anymore for our country, for our future and the next generation? 

Jesus is challenging us today to educate our hearts, to learn from Him, to come to Him and be like Him to have our hearts transformed like unto Him.  Though we are all weak and have all the defects as a person, our readings today lead us to the Christ who revealed to us that ultimately, “communication is more than the expression of one’s thoughts and feelings but at its most profound level is the giving of self in love” (Communio et Progression, 11).  It is the Lord Jesus Christ who had revealed in His very person and life of self-giving the paradoxical joy of discipleship, the transforming power of love gained in His own pasch that removed the sting of sin and of death in our weak humanity.  May we persevere in our education of our hearts in Jesus, “firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in Him our labor is not in vain” (1Cor.15:58).  Amen.  Have a blessed week!

Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Parokya ng San Juan Apostol at Ebanghelista, Gov. F. Halili Ave., Bagbaguin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

Here is the link to one of my favorite songs, “One More Gift” by Jesuit Fr. Manoling Francisco that speaks eloquently of the need to educate our hearts. Sing it prayerfully.

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