Saturday, August 29, 2015

Heart Trouble

Reflections on the Readings

August 30, 2015 - Year B
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Heart Trouble

 And he said, "What comes out of a man is what defiles a man.  For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man."

Life is more than just how diligent we are in dotting our 'i's and crossing our t's. A lot more! We don't need spiritual brownie points, we need a heart that is free from the tyranny of sin. A good prayer to pray is, "Lord search me and examine me and see if there be any evil in me.That prayer helps us to point the finger at the right person. It is so easy to name the sins of the other person. But today we are challenged to ask ourselves, "Am I just a hearer of the word of Christ or am I an example of his life, his love, his teaching." If the word of truth grips our heart, feeds our imagination, then we are a first fruit of what will one day be what we expect the new heavens and new earth to be like. For nothing unclean or defiled can be there. And if we expect to be there then we should pay attention to any heart trouble of the sort Jesus describes. 

I like the song that says: It's me, It's me, O' Lord, standing in the need of payer. David prayed for a new heart and a right spirit after his sin of adultery and murder found him out. God knows the thoughts and intentions of our heart. We are only fooling ourselves when we think we are hiding anything from him. Yet He extends to us and to all grace we don't deserve and love that we cannot earn. The invitation that still has no small print says, "Come unto me all of you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

When we come to confession, there is nothing hidden, and what we hide is not invisible. It is more important to be forgiven rather than deceived. For if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (1John 1:8)

What comes through today's readings is that the Father offers us a personal relationship. And certainly our heart should be his and his alone. For it is in the deepness of the God who is love where our own heart is made new and fresh in his love. With a new heart comes a new way of relating to others, especially those nearest and dearest to us. For everyone we meet bears the same image of God. So let us have a generous heart for all - with a heart free from evil thoughts, envy, slander, and pride. For our heart is meant to be the throne of the King. May we greet each other with the humility that resembles the King and receive each other as brothers and sisters in Christ So, Take my heart Lord. Come and seal it. Seal it for thy courts above. Amen.

Dennis Hankins is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN.  Prior to uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. E-mail Dennis at: or follow him on Twitter: @dshankins or visit him at:

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