It’s What’s In Our Hearts That Matters

Thursday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time
St. Anthony of Padua

2 Cor 3: 158 – 4: 1, 3-6; Mt 5: 20-26
Dc. Larry Brockman

It’s what’s in our hearts that really matters, because that is where God looks; and that is what he sees; and that is the truth- the reality of who and what we are.

Jesus message today in the Gospel is that we simply have to face the reality that we cannot hide from what is in our hearts.

I worked for almost 40 years in the aerospace industry as an engineer before retiring.  The technical work was interesting and challenging most of the time   And I loved that part of the job.  But the most challenging part of the job was not the technical part of the job at all.  Rather, it was working with the people.  Most of that time I had over 100 people working for me, and it was impossible to tell what some of them were really thinking.  Despite every attempt to be honest and straightforward in my dealings with people, there were some who were difficult.  Don’t get me wrong, most of the people were honest and straightforward as well.  But I discovered from sad experience that just below the surface lurked deception, laziness, ruthless ambition, and other forms of evil in a small but important subset of the population.  Almost always their motives and behaviors were veiled with a smile and a pat on the back.  And then one day, all of a sudden the full impact of their evil came out in the open.  And it was very difficult, indeed, to deal with.  It was almost refreshing to work with people who were overtly hostile who disagreed with you because then at least you both knew where you stood with each other.

I think it’s pretty much the same way for all of us who are living and working in the world whether we are doctors or salesman or engineers or teachers or whatever.  There is no lack of cunning and guile in the world from self- serving people.  It happens because people hide their true selves from each other.  It happens as a result of a focus on selfishness; and it is all fueled by a blindness to God’s plan for us and his message of love.

The early Corinthian community that Paul is writing to in our first reading was almost entirely the result of Paul’s efforts to spread the Gospel.  After he left Corinth, Paul was faced with a small but distinct group of detractors in the Corinthian Community who emerged from the woodwork and were attempting to undermine Paul’s message.  So Paul wrote 2 Corinthians with the express purpose of trying to counter the kind of backbiting and sinister behavior from this group of detractors that I was just talking about.

Paul first talks about how the Lord spoke through Moses, but the message was veiled over the hearts of the Children of Israel.  Jesus brought the New Testament to lift that veil.  What Paul says is that he is not preaching himself, but rather, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Paul says that this Gospel is likewise veiled to unbelievers by the god of this age, the devil, so that they don’t see the light of the Gospel of the Glory of Christ.

Now it was God who said “Let light shine out of the darkness”.  Yes, light means truth and honesty and sincerity need to shine out of the darkness.  We need to always act in a way that reveals the sincerity of our hearts.  And the motivation in our hearts should be to seek the Kingdom of God by doing the will of the Father not seeking after our own secular goals.  Jesus is challenging us to get to know what is in our hearts because that is what God sees, and that is how we will be judged.


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