Sunday, March 25, 2012

Homily: Open Heart Surgery

Each day, thousands of people in the U.S. have heart surgery. There are many different types of heart surgery. Surgeries may be used to
  • Repair or replace the valves that control blood flow through the heart's chambers
  • Bypass or widen blocked or narrowed arteries to the heart
  • Repair aneurysms, or bulges in the aorta, which can be deadly if they burst
  • Implant devices to regulate heart rhythms
  • Destroy small amounts of tissue that disturb electrical flow through the heart
  • Make channels in the heart muscle to allow blood from a heart chamber directly into the heart muscle
  • Boost the heart's pumping power with muscles taken from the back or abdomen
  • Replace the damaged heart with a heart from a donor

If you’ve ever had any of these heart surgeries or even seen one of them done on the discovery channel or even ER, you know how crazy it looks.  When I see this as I’m flipping through the channels, it’s like a bad car accident… you see it and want to look away, but can’t help watching.  No matter how much they try to sterilize it or hide the fact that it is a human being under the blue gowns and white clothe it’s messy and it looks painful!  Knives are cutting through flesh, blood spurts out as the heart pumps.  I watched a YouTube video of one this morning just to refresh myself and I was literally yelling out loud and shrieking as they put a stint in and blood spurted out.  (Thankfully the office was emptyJ  ) 
The point is that heart surgery is messy… no matter how much we try to sterilize it. 
The same can be said about our spiritual lives.  Getting through this life where there is a mixture of sin and virtue battling in us… it’s messy, often painful, and overwhelming. 
The overwhelmingly good thing is that we have THE BEST surgeon working on us. 

From Today’s first reading Jeremiah 31:31

I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts;
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Imagine God, The Father, Son and Spirit doing heart surgery on you and placing not a stint in your heart, but “My Law”… God placing His law within you, writing it on upon your heart. 

God does this in a special way in the Sacraments. 
-In baptism: “we now ask God to give this child new life in abundance through water and the Holy Spirit.” 
Baptism is like a heart transplant… you were given the Heart of Jesus, new life in abundance… a heart that was even better than your natural heart, a heart that will beat through eternity. 

-In the Eucharist: “TAKE THIS ALL OF YOU AND DRINK FROM IT, FOR THIS IS THE CHALICE OF MY BLOOD, THE BLOOD OF THE  ____________  can you fill in the blank?  “NEW AND ETERNAL COVENANT…” 
 He is writing His law on our hearts when we receive His Body and Blood.    Every Sunday when we come to mass it is like receiving a blood transfusion because we do receive His blood.  He writes on our Hearts. 

In Confession:  “God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church, may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.” 
God the Father, through Jesus sending His Holy Spirit is reconciling us to Himself.  This is major surgery.  All the sin is removed, bad valves replaced, arteries widened and opened, aneurysms repaired. 

We all like to avoid surgery because it’s painful, it’s messy, something could go wrong.  But if we trust that God is the Divine Surgeon working on us, though it may be painful at times to go to mass, or come back to confession, though it may be messy to name and look at your sins, we will receive new life… life in abundance. 

In today’s psalm we hear the message echoed – Create a clean heart in me, O God.   Lent is a time to go in to surgery and allow God to clean our hearts.  It is a time to allow God to do some major overhaul on us, especially through Sacrament of Confession.  Next Sunday, which is Passion/Palm Sunday we will be having our communal penance after the noon mass. 

If you haven’t been to confession in over a year, your do for some surgery.  If you haven’t been to confession in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, 30 years… you way over do for surgery.  Though it may be painful, even dreadful, remember that you will have the Divine Surgeon operating on you. 

I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts;
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Allow the Lord to do surgery on you every time that you pray and most especially in the Sacraments of the Church. 
               

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