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In the Mess, He Loves Us

First Reading: Revelation 10:8-11

I, John, heard a voice from heaven speak to me.
Then the voice spoke to me and said:
“Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel
who is standing on the sea and on the land.”
So I went up to the angel and told him to give me the small scroll.
He said to me, “Take and swallow it.
It will turn your stomach sour,
but in your mouth it will taste as sweet as honey.”
I took the small scroll from the angel’s hand and swallowed it.
In my mouth it was like sweet honey,
but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour.
Then someone said to me, “You must prophesy again
about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131
R. (103a) How sweet to my taste is your promise!
In the way of your decrees I rejoice,
as much as in all riches.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
Yes, your decrees are my delight;
they are my counselors.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
The law of your mouth is to me more precious
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
How sweet to my palate are your promises,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
Your decrees are my inheritance forever;
the joy of my heart they are.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
I gasp with open mouth
in my yearning for your commands.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!

Gospel: Luke 19:45-48

Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out
those who were selling things, saying to them,
“It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer,
but you have made it a den of thieves.”
And every day he was teaching in the temple area.
The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile,
were seeking to put him to death,
but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose
because all the people were hanging on his words.

NAB

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A few years ago, I had a miscommunication with an out-of-town friend.  I accidentally showed up to her doorsteps four hours early! She had been up all night with the baby, hadn’t showered, and this was the first time I had seen her without makeup. The house had dishes in the sink and unfolded laundry sprinkled next to the colorful hodgepodge of leftover garage sale items. My friend was completely mortified. She agreed to let me in, but warned me of the messiness and apologized continuously. But the truth is that I was not bothered at all. We hadn’t seen each other in a few years and all I wanted to do was visit with her.

In my relationship with God, sometimes I feel a bit like my friend who was overwhelmed and embarrassed by her state-in-life. I get frustrated and feel trapped by my weaknesses and sinfulness. Why can’t I seem to shake the enemy’s familiar lies? “You are a failure. You are not good enough. You are not smart enough. You are not holy enough.” I have had enough of not being enough!

The truth is that the Father looks at each one of us, His beloved daughters, with delight. He forgives our sins and sees the light of Christ in us. In our Baptism, He made our hearts temples of the Holy Spirit. Our heart becomes a dwelling place for the Trinity—especially as we receive Jesus in the Eucharist. God desires to be invited into this new temple so that He may dwell under our roofs.

Sometimes there is a den of thieves who try to set up shop in this temple of my heart. They fill the space with noise and harass the traffic of my thoughts, feelings, and desires. They sell lies at tables of pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth.

The Good News is that Jesus has saved us! He drives out the thieves so that our hearts can be houses of prayer. He forgives us in the Sacrament of Confession where we receive more of His freedom and joy. He replaces the old tables in the temple with a new place of worship. At Mass we receive both from the table of the word and the table of the Lord’s Body. During the Offertory of the Mass, we can bring all of our messiness, weakness, and sinfulness to Jesus so that He can offer everything to His Father. There the Father heals us and fills our hearts with His love and mercy. Often, some of the messiness still remains, but He is not afraid to love us in the mess!

Are you shying away from going deeper with Our Lord because of your own internal mess? He loves us as we are. Go deep, sister, go deep. It is safe.

Rose Coleman is a contemplative in action who delights in all things beautiful. Her adventurous heart has traveled many places—from circumnavigating the globe on a ship during college to some years in the convent as a religious sister. Exuberant from her childhood, she is an elementary school teacher who learns so much from her students. You can find out more about her here.

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