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Friday, January 15, 2010

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1 Samuel 8:4-7, 10-22
Psalm 89:16-19
Mark 2:1-12

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the heart of the problem

"All the elders of Israel came in a body to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, 'Now that you are old, and your sons do not follow your example, appoint a king over us, as other nations have.' " —1 Samuel 8:4-5

The Israelites had a problem replacing Samuel as their leader. They tried to deal with this problem by inaugurating a new form of government for themselves: a kingdom. This eventually made matters worse. We likewise often try to deal with our problems by setting up a new system. We are alarmed because of AIDS, so we develop a massive educational effort to promote the lie of "safe sex." Our church needs more money, so we concoct another fund-raiser. We feel depressed, so we develop an involved system of distractions. These new structures often do nothing but make matters worse.

Instead of distracting or deceiving ourselves with new systems, we should go to the heart of the problem: our own heart. If we have humble, contrite hearts, we will have victory over every problem — even those not our fault. For those with the heart of Christ, God works all things — even bad things — together for their good (Rm 8:28). Jesus' solution to all the world's problems is not new worldly systems, but new hearts. The Lord promises: "I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts" (Ez 36:26). Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

Prayer:  "Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, make my heart like Yours" (see Mt 11:29).

Promise:  "My son, your sins are forgiven." —Mk 2:5

Praise:  Whenever Roger struggles internally with someone, he asks the Lord to give him His heart for that person, and he feels Jesus soften his heart.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape on Love on audio AV 58-1 or video V-58.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 4, 2009

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