Today the heart of Jesus calls to you and me. His voice speaks to that hidden place in us that only God can see. The question we all need to ask is, "Lord, what would you have me do?" It is a frightening question.
Deep within, we know that Jesus asks for everything. He wants all our love. He wants all our life, our time, talents and treasure. In short, he wants to transform us into unique versions of himself.
This seems intimidating because we all cling to our ways, our thoughts, our feelings and our desires. We fear that if we surrender all, we will lose control. We fear that God will not come through, so we hold on.
Faith is recognizing that we cannot ultimately be in control. It is seeing that our lives are like flowers in the field. We are on earth for a brief moment and then we are gone.
We never did have control. From the beginning, we have been utterly dependent on God and on his goodness, mercy and love.
In Sunday's Gospel, Jesus raises a little girl from the dead. When he speaks his divine word, she rises from the grip of death and is made well. Jesus wants to speak to all the areas in our lives that are dead. He wants to raise each of us to fullness of life in him.
The Church all over the world is in crisis. It is in crisis because we have not embraced the Gospel in its most radical dimensions. Too often, we cling to our own ways and do not let the Spirit of Jesus take control. The problem is not just "out there," but lies in the heart of us all.
In the words of Catholic author Ralph Martin, we face "a crisis of faith." The only antidote to this crisis is to "launch into the deep" (Blessed John Paul II).
'You have turned my mourning into dancing.'
We all stand before a vast and open eternal sea, a sea of grace and mercy that is infinite. We are called to launch our boats into the depths that stand before us. We are called to put up our sails and let the wind of the Spirit blow.
There will be storms and uncertainties. We do not know all that lies ahead. But one thing is certain: This vast sea that beckons is the heart of Jesus Christ.
The storm clouds are all around us. And Jesus calls us to re-launch daily the boat of our lives into the sea of his love. He calls us to rise from the death of self-will into the new life of his Spirit. He calls us to listen to the Spirit and apply his teachings daily.
The Scriptures point our lives toward the depths of the heart of Jesus. This is why St. Thomas Aquinas said, "The phrase 'heart of Christ' can refer to the Sacred Scripture, which makes known his heart."
This thought is worth meditating on again and again. Think of it. The living heart of Jesus is experienced in his word.
It is easy to skim the surface Scripture. Jesus calls us to let the Word reveal the heartbeat of God. To do this, we must take time to enter into the Scripture. We must recognize that it is Jesus himself who speaks, who reveals his heart and who calls us by name.
Then we must respond to Jesus and apply daily what he is saying. The Scriptures call us to a profound personal and corporate transformation. They reveal the heart of our existence; they raise us from the dead. Take the time to enter in, to pray the word and to let the heart of Jesus speak.
Make time to study and pray Sunday's readings in communion with the Church. Then when we receive the Eucharist, we are prepared for the life-transforming grace that meets us.
Today in prayer as I listened to the heart of Jesus I sensed a profound call. A call to re-launch my little boat of life into the depths of God's heart. A call to re-launch into the deep and let my life encourage others to do the same.
Pray for me, and I will pray for you.
God wants to renew and revitalize the Church. The Eternal Sea calls all Christians to launch into our journey with renewed vigour and perseverance. Let's re-launch today and everyday . . . into the depths of the heart of Jesus.