jesus-good-shepherd-06Dear Brothers and Sister,

Planted in EVERY human heart are original beauty, love and joy. However, since the Fall of Adam and Eve, our first parents, our “longings” or “aches” often get misdirected from God to creatures (humans and animals) and earthly created things (material goods). We have been “wounded” by original sin and our desires often get “distorted” and we end up desiring things that do not reflect our true dignity and beauty.

In the first reading Jeremiah is thrown into a cistern, left to die. This is an example of the king abusing his earthly power and dominating someone else. The king was not a good steward of the earthly authority and power God gave Him. We know, as Jeremiah did, that we are not created to be manipulated, used, demeaned, or belittled in any way by anyone. Due to our brokenness, we tend to stop at the thing, making it an “idol.” We don’t see it as a path to the Creator. We are called to love people and use things; instead, we tend to use people and love things.

Jesus is “aching” in the Gospel to set the earth “on fire,” but He cannot do this unless each and every one of us allows Him (open and willing) to do this to our own hearts! Jesus knows because of our “disordered” hearts, which tend toward selfishness, that His ways and teachings will confront some in the hearts who do not want to follow Him and this will divide some families. The Father yearns for us to be gathered into His Son’s Body– the Church– and for us to drink from the One Chalice of Christ. He wants the Holy Spirit to increase our “capax dei” (capacity for God) in the “place of purification:” the solitude of confession and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, which lead us to Christ in the Holy Mass, the perfect prayer to the Father.

We are all meant for profound joy, which is union with God, but we must all go through the purification of the Crucifixion in order to get to the Resurrection. The Crucifixion will set our hearts on fire for Christ and original solitude, which is a place of silence, quite reflection and peace. Jesus says “great is my anguish until it is accomplished.” It is this glorious exchange in the prayer over the offerings where Christ’s ache for us and our ache for the world are exchanged. He purifies our ache and transforms it into a holy ache for Him and the Father, IF we allow Him to and stop grasping at things of the earth.

The truth of who we are and what we are destined to be: we are meant to be more confirmed to His Image (Jesus) on earth and be made co-heirs to our inheritance forever in Heaven! This is the exchange Christ gave us when He died on the Cross in place of us.

May we allow Him to set our hearts on fire for the One whose heart is on fire for love of us! Amen.

Father Jesus