Homily for March 22

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Homily for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily

Such beautiful words in Jeremiah this morning:
“I will place my law within them,
I will write it upon their hearts, says the Lord.”

That’s definitely one of my Top 10 Favorite Verses from scripture
and there’s no doubting it prompts some personal questions
for each of us to ask ourselves.
Questions like:
Who gets to write on my heart?
Who has written on my heart when I wasn’t looking?
What’s been written on my heart that’s now faded away?
What’s been written on my heart that I’ve tried very hard to erase?
What’s been indelibly penned on my heart?
What has the Lord written on my heart?

At the very moment I was conceived.
my parents began writing on my heart in the language of their DNA.
My mother was writing her love for me on my heart
and I on hers in the intimacy of her womb,
before I knew a single word.

When I was a child my parents, my family, my friends, my teachers
all had opportunity to write upon my heart
often before I had a choice to accept or reject what they wrote.

What some folks wrote was loving, helpful and life giving.
What others wrote was wounding, hurtful and damaging.
Some wrote the truth on my heart and others wrote lies.

Some of what was written was  fuzzy, illegible
and to this day, I’m trying to figure out what the message was
and how has it shaped my life…

As we grow up and grow older we become more protective of our hearts,
we begin to shield them,
doing our best to allow only a select few to write on such a tender slate.

Still,  there may be times when we’re so desperate
to have someone write something there
that we open our hearts foolishly and indiscriminately.
Certainly, there’s nothing sweeter, no message kinder,
no memory more satisfying, no intimacy more lasting.
than what’s written on our hearts with love and faithfulness
by those we trust and welcome in to our souls.                   
Perhaps my words today have led you to that place in your heart
where some of the messages inscribed there
have been found loving and helpful
and others painful and hurtful.
It’s in just that place  - in your heart and in mine -
that the Lord wants to write his word:
the law and the promise of his love.

It’s in our heart of hearts that the Lord wants to write
the word he has for each one of us.

Perhaps what he desires to write on my heart, on yours,
is a word of healing,  or a word of forgiveness,
or a word of challenge, or a word of comfort.
It might be a word of great tenderness to console me,
a word of strength meant to give me courage
or a word of pardon to give me peace.

Each of us, without exception, can be sure of this:
whatever the Lord wants to write on my heart,
that word, that message is precisely the one
I most need to read there.

You know, I’ll bet that we all check our mailbox every day.
And if you have email
you check that at least a couple of times a day.
And if you text,
then you’re checking and replying to texts all day long.

But I wonder: have we, this Lent, checked
to see what word, what text, what message
the Lord has been writing on our hearts in this holy season?
He writes every day:
have we been looking for, reading what he’s written?

There are two weeks left before Easter.
What if we spent that time asking the Lord to help us read
what he’s been writing on our hearts?

What words of love and promise and healing,
what words of mercy and comfort and challenge
has he been writing on our hearts?

Jesus invited his Father to write on his heart
and so there were inscribed on the heart of Jesus
all the sins of humankind, including yours and mine.

They were written on his heart
so that he might carry them for us on the Cross
and redeem us from the harm they do
to others and to ourselves.

In the sacrament of this altar the Lord gains access to our hearts
when we open ourselves
to receive his Body and Blood in the Eucharist.
He enters our hearts to heal what’s wounded
and to write upon them the law and the promise of his love.

May our hearts be laid bare this Lent
that the Lord might write upon them
the words each us of most needs to find there and to read.                      


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