Archive for February, 2007

Believing with the Heart

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

  February 25, 2007

First Sunday of Lent

Dt 26:4-10; Rom 1-: 8-13; Luke 4: 1-13

Dc. Larry Brockman

Do you believe with your heart?  When you say the Creed in a few minutes, will it come from your heart?  Or is it just something that you will rattle off from memory.  The Creed is what we believe; it tells us about God’s nature, both divine and human.  It tells us about what he did for us- sending His own son Jesus into this world; taking on human nature; dying on the cross; saving us all; and rising from the dead. 

But there’s more to believing in God than knowing about God and all He did for us, and saying with our lips that we believe.  To be saved, as St. Paul says, you’ve got to believe in God with your heart, and that means that you have to actually know God not just know about Him.   

Now all of you out there will say you know people.  But how many of them do you know from the heart?  When you know someone from the heart, then that means you are intimate with them.  They are people you can always trust; you are willing to always be yourself with them.  Most often, you only really know people from the heart whom you love.  Sometimes, a spouse; a parent or grandparent; or a very close relative or friend fits that description- sometimes.    

Well, what about God?  Do you know God that way?  If you are satisfied that you do know God intimately; that everything in your relationship with God is exactly right, then you truly believe in Him from the Heart. 

Here’s a little test for you to determine if you know God that well.  If I told you that tomorrow at 10 AM you would die, what would you do about your relationship with God between now and then?  If you are intimate with God, you wouldn’t need to do anything differently than you normally do.  But my bet is that most of you feel you do need to work on your relationship with God. 

Guess what; I’ve got some really good news for you.  You see, It’s Lent!  Why is that good news?  Because Lent is that time of year that the Church sets aside for you to renew your relationship with God.  Yes, you are being called to reflect on your relationship with God just like Jesus did in today’s Gospel.  Jesus felt he was being called at his Baptism.  And so, the Spirit led him into the desert where he reflected on what God’s will was for him.  Jesus was getting to know the father from the heart.   

You have these 40 days till Easter to dedicate yourself into getting to know God and make your relationship with him one from the heart.  But, it’s not going to be easy.  You are going to face incredible temptations to throw you off the track, just as Jesus was tempted. 

First, Jesus was tempted to turn stone into bread.  You will be tempted to just live life as you normally do. and just deal with your bodily and temporal needs.  If you do that, then before you know it, Lent will be over, and nothing will have changed in your relationship with God. 

Then, Jesus was tempted to grab worldly power while he had the chance and avoid the mission the Spirit was prompting Him to take.  If you keep right on a path to do your thing, whatever it is, never giving the Spirit of God a chance to move you, never finding out who God really is from the heart,. then you will succumb to that second temptation. 

Now, our call to get to know God requires us to be quiet enough to hear God.  That means we have to set aside some time, and just listen to what he has to say to us.  But, that’s where the third temptation comes in.  For most of us, the train is moving so fast that we won’t stand still long enough to really hear God.  So, you jump right back in to life prematurely if God doesn’t answer your prayer right away.  That’s just like jumping off a cliff; it’s like you think that if God really had anything to say to you, he would rescue you.  But, God wants your undivided attention.  That’s where the prayer and fasting come in.  These are ways for you to discipline yourself.  Discipline is what you need to really slow down and think about something else for a change; think about your relationship with God- at a deeper level.   

The parish is here to help.  We are offering lots of opportunities over the next 6 weeks for you to slow down, and reflect on your relationship with God.  There’s Daily Mass; the Adoration Chapel; and Stations of the Cross every Friday evening to start.  You can also check the bulletin every week for the special things that are going on.   

Why should we do this, learn to know God from the heart?  I’d like to leave you with this quote from Ash Wednesday’s first reading, from the book of Joel: 

“Yet even now, says the LORD,

return to me with your whole heart,

with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;

 Rend your hearts, not your garments,

and return to the LORD, your God.

For gracious and merciful is he,

slow to anger, rich in kindness,

and relenting in punishment.”