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Filled with Love

First Reading: Ezekiel 18:1-10, 13B, 30-32

The word of the LORD came to me:
Son of man, what is the meaning of this proverb
that you recite in the land of Israel:

“Fathers have eaten green grapes,
thus their children’s teeth are on edge”?

As I live, says the Lord GOD:
I swear that there shall no longer be anyone among you
who will repeat this proverb in Israel.
For all lives are mine;
the life of the father is like the life of the son, both are mine;
only the one who sins shall die.

If a man is virtuous—if he does what is right and just,
if he does not eat on the mountains,
nor raise his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel;
if he does not defile his neighbor’s wife,
nor have relations with a woman in her menstrual period;
if he oppresses no one,
gives back the pledge received for a debt,
commits no robbery;
if he gives food to the hungry and clothes the naked;
if he does not lend at interest nor exact usury;
if he holds off from evildoing,
judges fairly between a man and his opponent;
if he lives by my statutes and is careful to observe my ordinances,
that man is virtuous—he shall surely live, says the Lord GOD.

But if he begets a son who is a thief, a murderer,
or lends at interest and exacts usury–
this son certainly shall not live.
Because he practiced all these abominations, he shall surely die;
his death shall be his own fault.

Therefore I will judge you, house of Israel,
each one according to his ways, says the Lord GOD.
Turn and be converted from all your crimes,
that they may be no cause of guilt for you.
Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed,
and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.
Why should you die, O house of Israel?
For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,
says the Lord GOD. Return and live!

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19

R. (12a) Create a clean heart in me, O God.
A clean heart create for me, O God;
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners shall return to you.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.

Gospel: Matthew 19:13-15

Children were brought to Jesus
that he might lay his hands on them and pray.
The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said,
“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them;
for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
After he placed his hands on them, he went away.

NAB

aug 13

This summer, my heart has been heavy and full. The news continues to roll in with city names and death tolls alongside the faces of victims whose stories take up my prayers. The anxiety hangs heavy on me.

What does God want me to do? How can I move from prayer into action? What kind of heart can I cultivate to be open to the suffering in the world without succumbing to it?

Today’s Gospel helped me to formulate an answer. Jesus wants me to have the heart of a child. We don’t ask children to take on tragedies of this world. We guard their hearts from the messiness that surrounds us. We encourage them to be open hearted, sharing the love they have to give with the world.

I want to fill my heart up with love. I want to carry love with me as I move through the world. I want to respond in love to the people I meet. Sometimes the love will be a love of justice, to be sure, but I will move and live in love.

Today’s Psalm is the perfect way to start. I beg the Lord for the humble and contrite heart that lives in His presence, full of His spirit. For the clean and pure heart of a child, that finds joy in the world. For the willing spirit that perseveres, unafraid of what may be ahead that I cannot control.

Our world is broken and fallen, but we don’t have to let the brokenness live in us. We can choose to enter into the brokenness with the healing love of Christ in our hearts. We can cultivate a child’s heart in ourselves: whole, loving, and pure.

If the trials of the world around you are weighing on your heart, pray today’s psalm. Ask the healing of the world to begin in your own heart. A clean heart create for me, O God; and a steadfast spirit renew within me. – Psalm 151:12

photo credit

Brigid Hogan loves the view of the Washington Monument from her apartment, her standing desk, the Green Bay Packers, and a good mystery. She tolerates taking the Metro to the office, where she works as a communications consultant. You can find out more about her here.

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