Thursday of the XVIII week in Ordinary Time, year II
Living an undivided life is always a challenge.
Today’s Old Testament readings speak of the division in the people of Israel between the laws that they had accepted in the covenant with God and what was actually going on in their hearts, which were not fully with God. Because of this internal division of their minds and their hearts, they ended up breaking the covenant. The psalmist asks God to clean and transform his heart, and that’s what God promises to do in the reading from the book of Jeremiah.
In the reading from the Gospel of Matthew, we see that this inconsistency of head and heart continues. Saint Peter has come to believe that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the Living God”. Yet, moments later he refuses to accept the divine plan that Jesus foretells. He loves the Lord, but in a human way, so he is inconsistent when it comes to applying his faith to his actions.
We all have this internal division to some degree. Every time we sin, we reveal that our minds and our wills are not totally aligned with our faith and with each other.
Now, each one of us has our own strengths and weaknesses according to our personality and habits. I invite us all to individually “map out” in our minds the regions of our lives where there is consistency between what we believe and what we do, and where the theory and the reality do not line up. We could consider the areas of inconsistency as enemy territory that we need to conquer for Christ. Or, to use a less military analogy, think of them as the rooms of our spiritual house that need to be cleaned before Christ can fully inhabit them.
We can only live an undivided life if we honestly recognize where that unity of will, reason and faith is missing in our lives, and open our hearts and minds in prayer to God’s grace. Then God will be able to transform us as he transformed the headstrong and inconsistent man named Simon into St Peter, the Rock on whom he built his Church.