From the beginning, God created all things and all creation was good and then created humanity in his own image and likeness, giving him his own Spirit capable of seeing the goodness in all that he had created, and with the Spirit God gave humanity a heart of flesh, capable of appreciating all the wonders of creation.
In time humanity wanted to know more of what God had given him and ate of the fruit of wisdom, forbidden by God and with this, humanity came to know not only the good that God had shown him but also the evil. With this new knowledge of good and evil, humanity began to place his whole life on a scale, how much of it was good, how much of it was evil, forgetting that God created everything in goodness. Thus, little by little, the heart of flesh that God had given to humanity became hardened, becoming, as the prophet Isaiah says, a heart of stone, unable to see the goodness that is in every human being, and placing all the actions that man does into question.
God, seeing that our hearts had hardened and that we rarely have compassion from the bottom of our hearts when we see our brother who suffers, promises us that he will take away the heart of stone that we have made for ourselves, due to circumstances that we have lived through, such as deceit, suffering, lack of love, etc.
But what was the heart that God gave us and how do we know what God's heart is like? When God sees our confusion, he shows us his heart so that we can see what our own heart is like … he shows us that heart precisely through his Son, Jesus Christ.
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Jesus not only shows us what our heart is like, but he also shows us how that heart should beat and function, and he does so by giving us examples of life, of authentic living after God's own heart. We see in the gospels that Jesus weeps for his friend Lazarus who has died; he is moved to tears when he sees the widow of Naim lose her son; he looks with compassion and touches the leper, who is on the fringes of society; and he does not look at faults, but at repentance as in Mary Magdalene. Such is the heart of God, which he will give us according to the prophet Isaiah; he will take away our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh.
So today dear brothers and sisters, we are invited to look at this heart that Jesus shows us and through every action we do, like Jesus did: to weep for someone we love; to sympathize with those who suffer in sickness; to comfort those who mourn; to see the goodness of creation, the goodness that dwells within us; and to give words of hope to those who have lost it. These, and much more, we can do in our daily lives. By following this, our heart of stone will become a heart of flesh.
Deacon Ángel Alberto Lázaro de la Cruz, C.S.C., is a Holy Cross religious from Mexico. He is currently living at the International House of Formation in Santiago, Chile, while he completes his theological studies and serves at Andacollo Parish.