Hebrews 4:12-16;Psalm 19:8-10, 15; Mark 2:13-17
Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword … able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
That can be a pretty intimidating idea, can’t it? Does any one of us really want God judging our secret thoughts? Well, the answer to that question depends to a large degree on who God is and what he thinks about us. And for that answer, we can look at today’s Gospel passage. Evidently, our Father looks on us with compassion and not condemnation. Where some Pharisees saw Levi and his friends as sinners and outcasts, Jesus saw children of God who were hungering for the salvation he had come to bring.
How often do you have unkind thoughts toward other people? Probably more frequently than any of us would want to admit. We dismiss someone’s interests as boring. We envy the co-worker who gets a promotion. We dislike a neighbor’s clothes, her hairstyle, her mannerisms. We may not express such unkind thoughts in public, but they are still there, lingering in the back of our minds, casting a shadow over our hearts.
If you want to become more like Jesus, you have to let his Holy Spirit shape your thoughts. Like the psalmist, you can pray, “Probe me, God, know my heart; try me; know my concerns. See if my way is crooked, then lead me in the ancient paths” (Psalm 139:23-24). But you also have to cooperate with the Lord when negative thoughts crop up. That’s when the real changes begin. That’s when you find a new compassion, a deeper joy, and a new freedom to love.
So when your first thought is “That is so boring!” try to ask your friend to explain his enthusiasm more fully. When your first thought is “I hate seeing so many good things come his way,” ask God to open your eyes to the ways he has blessed you. When your first thought is “Will this person never stop talking?” thank God that your friend trusts you so much, and sit back to enjoy the tale.
God really can change your heart!
“Holy Spirit, I want to grow in your love. So come and reveal my secret thoughts! Come and refine my inner conversations, suffusing them with your kindness and compassion.”~WAU