Homily – Fr. Michael Casagram – Entering the freedom o the heart – 10/10/21

+THE REFLECTIONS AND THOUGHTS OF THE HEART      18TH Sunday Ord. 2021

The words of the Letter to the Hebrews this morning, tell us of the subtle movements of the human heart: “The word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” Our lives as Christians and monks are all about discerning what’s going on deep down within us, what’s lying under all our thoughts, desires and actions. As we learn to live with purity of heart, we become truly Christian.

To honestly face what is going on in our hearts takes a life time but in doing so we become the loving persons we are destined to be. It is the path to true wisdom that is “beyond health and comeliness,” for her path is to be preferred to light itself, to know a splendor that never yields to sleep.

We live in a world where it is becoming more and more evident that wealth and power so easily serve self-interest, are lacking in the love that enables us to seek the common good and a lasting peace. This is exactly what happened to the rich young man who came to Jesus and knelt before him. He knew that something was deeply lacking in his life though he had kept all the commandments. He failed to see how his heart was snared by all the possessions he had and Jesus brought him to see this.

We all have reason to ask ourselves about our hearts, knowing that even in a monastery we can come to cling to possessions however small they may be. And “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” as Jesus reminds us. The first disciples of Jesus were exceedingly astonished at these words but this becomes the very moment when Jesus gives them the key to the kingdom of heaven. “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”

It seems to me that again and again in each one of our lives, we are brought precisely to this all important moment when we become aware of how helpless we are to be free of our addictions, whatever they may be. It may be to food or drink, anger or sex, our pride or self-love, keeping up with the latest news, the need for entertainment or distraction of whatever kind. As we own our helplessness, our enslavement of whatever kind, God is all too ready to step in and guide us into freedom, into the promised land. Knowing where real freedom is to be found, is to gain a wisdom that is preferred to scepter and throne, to find the priceless gem.

To enter into this freedom of heart is to “receive a hundred times more in this present age; houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions and eternal life in the age to come.” And this is true not only for religious but is the constant call of every Christian. Owning our dependence on divine grace is to hear Jesus say to each of us “all things are possible for God.”

This love of God for us could not be more evident than in what takes place at this altar again this morning. Here is make present that moment  when Christ died for our sins and rose again. And then we are given his very own Body and Blood risen in glory. What is impossible for us humans, becomes entirely possible for God as we are made sharers in God’s own divine life.  Amen

Wisdom 7:7-11; Hebrews 4:12-13  Mark 10:17-30