Liturgical Readings for the day: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/022318.cfm
Three readings tying three themes of sin, forgiveness, and God’s unfailing love.
In Ezekiel 18, the writer begins with listing a set of behaviors that are considered sinful, worthy of death because the act themselves cause pain and sorrow for others.
In Matthew 5, Jesus has started listing his “10 commandments” and continues the prophet’s line of thought and spelling out what is considered harmful and wrong. The commandment, “You shall not murder” is reinterpreted in Jesus as “You shall not WANT to murder.”
In Ezekiel 18:31, the Lord offers a remedy: a new heart AND mind.
In the Gospels, we see Jesus focusing on the motive of the heart.
Thoughts, heart, and behavior are all connected. And somehow God’s faithful presence, as well as the faithful, loving presence of others in our lives, have something to do with how we live among one another.
The themes of sin, forgiveness, and God’s unfailing love are very present in our lives each day. During the Lenten season, I am confronted with my own heart/mind/motives, attentive to all the interior rooms, where there is light AND darkness. God’s unfailing love gives me the courage and ability to reflect inwardly and confess the darkness and need for change.
I am also aware of my need for a spiritual community to help me live as unto the Lord and his unfailing love in our lives. Our culture tends to live isolated from one another, leaving us influenced by our own thoughts and whatever we’re exposed to (i.e. video games, netflix, youtube, tv, etc). Not all of it is “bad”. I enjoy a good “netflix and chill” with my bae. But I’m also aware of how easily I’m influenced. I’m aware how I can be tempted to pick a side on an online debate that mostly gets me in trouble. I’m aware of the constant barrage of sexual fantasizing that media sources convey. I’m aware of violent images that I’m exposed to, making me feel like others are “stupid, idiotic fools” (for context, read Matthew 5:22. The word “raca” is stupid/idiot/fool).
Ezekiel reminds us that it’s not God’s doing that we’re in broken situations. It’s our unjust ways. The remedy is always a return to a God who is unfailing in love, ready to give new hearts and minds in full redemption.
Lord, we confess the anger in our hearts towards others. We ask that you heal our broken hearts that we might be reconciled to you and one another. Amen.