“Ready to throw of all unbecoming stuff from our hearts, and placing the Divine Mercy of the Lord, enthroned in our hearts!”
(Based on Is 35:1-10 and Lk 5:17-26 – Monday of the 2nd Week in Advent, Year B)
A young man went up from his home in the countryside to the city to join the University for a Degree.
As a resident student, he had his own room in the hostel.
After he had settled in, his Mother, a godly, devoted Christian, decided to pay him a visit.
She was delighted to see the campus and felt good with the ambience.
She was also happy that her son was taking a keen interest in his studies.
However, when she went to his room, she was greatly shocked.
The kind of pictures that he had fixed to the walls of his room in the hostel made the mother feel embarrassed!
They were portraits of semi-dressed artistes, film stars, and suggested much that was sensual, and unbecoming a young man who had been devoutly trained at home, as he had.
The mother said not a word.
Instead of expressing her displeasure, she went home.
The following day, sent across a framed picture of the Divine Mercy of Jesus, with the request that he would hang it in his room.
A few weeks later she visited again him.
This time, however all the other pictures in the room were gone…
Only the picture of the Divine Mercy was there!
When she asked him about it, he replied, ‘You see, mother, I could not have those pictures along-side this Sacred picture. They would be out of place!’
Evil cannot exist beside the Sacred!
Where there is the presence of Holiness, evil finds itself disturbed and distances itself!
But human life often finds itself engaged and engrossed with evil things…
The pull to be bad constantly lurks in human minds…
The urge to be sinful often prowls in human hearts…
The Gospel of the Day is an exposition of this evil side of life that often endangers human hearts, and pops its head up, especially when encountered by goodness and holiness.
The Gospel is the healing of the paralytic, when Jesus comes into His own town.
Seeing the paralytic being brought on the stretcher, and admiring their faith, Jesus had said, “Courage child, your sins are forgiven” (Lk 5:20)
However, some of the scribes got irked hearing these words and said, “Who is this who speaks blasphemy?” (Lk 5:21)
But Jesus, who knows the hearts of people…. who reads the thoughts of all, said:
“What are you thinking in your hearts?” (Lk 5: 22)
In the Gospel of Matthew, we read the parallel verse, in the following way:
“Why do you think evil in your hearts?” (Mt 9: 4)
Another translation of this verse would read:
“Why do you harbour evil in your hearts?”
“Harbour” is a place on the coast, where ships may moor in shelter, especially one protected from rough water by piers, jetties, and other artificial structures.
It is also to keep a thought or feeling, (typically a negative one) in one’s mind, especially secretly
The Lord exposes the evil intention of the Scribes in questioning His action of cleansing the paralytic.
For the paralytic, it was a great moment…
… of being cleansed from sin, and being restored to holiness
… of having a very personal encounter of the Saviour and receiving wholeness
It was a sacred time… a holy instant!
But where there is the presence of Holiness, evil finds itself disturbed and distances itself!
Evil cannot exist beside the Sacred!
Therefore, when the paralytic was encountering goodness and holiness, the evil side in the scribes popped its head up, and questioned and quizzed our Blessed Lord.
The same question that Jesus asked the scribes is now thrown to us:
“What are you thinking in your hearts?” or “Why do you think evil in your hearts?” or “Why do you harbour evil in your hearts?”
Am I a person who is unable to tolerate the good things happening in other people’s life?
Am I someone who gets irked and irritated when the other person prospers in happiness?
We sometimes adorn the walls of our hearts with many filthy stuff -uncharitable thoughts, indecent words and jokes, hurtful views of people or crude perspectives of situations.
The Lord feels hurt and sad by this our “harbouring of evil in our hearts”
Prophet Isaiah exhorts, encourages and reminds us: “Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you!” (Is 35:3-4)
Are we ready to throw of all those unbecoming stuff from our hearts, and place the Divine Mercy of the Lord, enthroned in our hearts?
Let us seek the intercession of St Ambrose, Doctor of the Church on his feast day.
His words come as a reminder to us: “Our own evil inclinations are far more dangerous than any external enemies!”
With him, let us also pray: “Many a sin has sullied me in body and in soul, because I did not restrain my thoughts nor guard my lips: nevertheless it is to Thee, O God of Majesty and Love, that I turn in my extremity, for Thou art the Fount of Mercy; to Thee, as quickly as I may, I speed: for Thou alone canst heal me; I take refuge under Thy protection!”
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Just as internal revolutions and troubles can cause the ruin of a state…