‘A pure heart create for me, O Lord’ (5th Sunday of Lent, Year B)
The closer we get to Good Friday with Jesus, the more we are astonished by the richness of the ‘inside’ of Jesus. Empires clash on the state of world-politics. Slowly, Rome’s power will be on the decline. The sky is getting darker and darker above Jesus. It has been long time decided - the desire is there in his opponents - that he needs to be silenced at any price. From an external point of view, on might say, that Jesus is scarcely able to keep one's head above water. From a human point of view, he is heading towards a tragic end.
Yet, what is really striking, the integrity of his thoughts and emotions. What is ‘inside’ Him, is the absolute opposite of the outside circumstances. He speaks with power. He speaks with absolute and unwavering love. His heart is so resilient. No trace of panic. He feels the pressure, when he says: ‘Now my soul is trobled.’ ‘But it was for this very reason that I have come to to this hour. Father, glorify your name!’ And in his last conversations, the most beautiful and hopeful teachings is shared with his disciples. These words (culminating in his high-priestly prayer on Holy Thursday, in the Last Supper) are perfectly formed. There is no prose or poem that a human artist could have worded. Only the Son of God, with his inner riches can speak like this. Jesus’ soul is full of health, he is in full control of his redemptive acts; what happens to him is not accidental, it can never destroy his integrity. His love for the Father, and for us, for whom he was sent.
Why is it so important to notice and focus on Jesus’ inner richness? For he shows us how important it is to ‘have a soul’. How important it is to have an unshakeable life in our heart. We have to work hard - this is our daily task - to have this ‘inner life’, this ‘inner space’ created and sustained in us by the Holy Spirit.
There are phases in one’s life when from within this ‘center’ we respond to joyful situations. When we enjoy God’s gift, each other’s company, on when we are compassionate, and in the position of listening to and helping others. There are times, and it does come, many times, when we need this inner strength and power of hope to face difficult situations. When someone in our family, or ourselves are seriously ill, or when we are under the pressures of life. You remember the puzzling question of Jesus when he says ‘whether the Son of man finds faith when he returns’. We can sum up the inner content of our ‘heart’ or ‘interior space’ as faith; also in the sense of the integrity of thinking.
Covid 19 is such a time when we need strength. On a personal level, losing someone, or as a community facing the global epidemic is like Jesus’ entering into his final passion. Are we going to panic? Give in, or turn away, or run away? Or, like the wise virgins with their lamps, we are using our time well to fill it up with oil? What about your inner life? Your spiritual life, your prayer life, your daily discernment, and sharing your life with Jesus, in conscious way? How resilient and focused your soul is? Let us ask ourselves.
Let us care for our our souls. Let us Jesus inner life, which is revealed on the threshold of his Passion, be our reference point. Let us be aware that this ‘inner space’ today is being replaced, on a mass scale, by ‘psychic death’. Our increasingly digitalised and commodified capitalism promotes fake souls. Religion, genuine compassion and love is replaced by the ‘incapacity to think’. If our soul does not resemble Jesus’ inner richness, it is only a matter of time that the ‘banality of evil’ will feast. When people suffer that they cannot express their pain, have no language for asking for help, when their imagination dies.
These are real questions when the human person, its thinking and reactions are engineered and managed through technologies - like social media, mass communication, and artificial intelligence. Let us live and be nourished by Christ’s Light that our inner life never to be coloniesd by the world of the ‘media spectacle’ and a blind consumption.
Let us read proudly, and let us receive the words of today’s readings as a healing; as our sacred direction. ‘A pure heart create for me, O God.’ ‘Deep within us plant your Law, writing it on our hearts!’ Let us ‘learn to know the Lord’! Bring us to this repentance, Jesus!
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..