Posted: 24 Feb 2009 11:00 PM PST (Catholic Exchanged)
Jl 2:12-18 / 2 Cor 5:20-6:2 / Mt 6:1-6,16-18
The human heart is more complex than any computer, and none of us ever fully understands its reasons and its choices. But we have to try, with God’s help, lest we let our hearts lead us, all unawares, to places whose dangers are invisible to us. That testing of the heart and reorienting of the heart is what Lent is about.
In today’s gospel, Matthew reminds us of one of the hazards that every religious person faces: Practicing our faith and doing good for others just to be seen and admired. It’s a trap that’s so easy to fall into, and it’s such a waste of time and joy. The alternative is ever so much more satisfying because our hearts know that it is true.
Only a heart that sees that it is loved by God will have in it the astonished gratitude that impels it to thank God in word and deed. True thankfulness will blossom into prayer, into sharing with others what God has shared with us, and into striving to reshape our hearts into God’s likeness. The good deeds will come naturally from deep inside, and what others see or don’t see won’t matter.
This Lent, concentrate on God’s goodness and generosity to you, so totally unearned and unmerited. Gratitude will tell your heart where you need to go, and what needs to change. God’s love-power has changed many hearts. Why not let His love-power change yours?