The Business of Changing Hearts

Written by Sr. Rosemary Finnegan, O.P.
Readings from:

Max Lucado is a Christian author who uses his real-life experiences and homespun humor to share God’s message.  He tells the story of when he had to undergo a heart procedure.  The doctor explained that this catheter ablation would cauterize and destroy the ‘misbehaving’ parts of his heart so that its beats would return to normal.  The day of the surgery, the doctor asked Max if he had any final questions, which Max didn’t think was the best choice of words.  But Max asked: “While you’re in there abolishing the misbehaving cells, could you also take care of my greed, selfishness and superiority?”  When the doctor responded that this was out of his pay grade, Max reflected that, fortunately, that’s not out of God’s realm.  God is in the business of changing hearts.

The Prophet Micah, from our first reading, was also in the business of changing the hearts of the misbehaving Israelites.  In this short book of only 7 chapters, Micah is warning Israel of their impending divine judgment if they don’t turn away from their greedy, unjust and rebellious ways.  The poor were also being oppressed by them and Micah championed their cause.  And even though the people practiced their religion, it had little depth or meaning to them.  He challenged their ‘pop religion’ with true faith that involved justice, mercy and walking with God.

Despite his dire warnings, however, Micah always offered the people hope, and that’s the beautiful reading we heard today.  Like a shepherd, God will one day restore the people, rebuild Jerusalem, defeat evil and raise up a messianic King who will bless all the nations forever.  God’s ultimate purpose is not to destroy Israel, but to show mercy, fulfill the covenant he made to Abraham, and to bless, redeem and save the world.

God was in the business of changing hearts then, and God is still in that business today.  We just heard Micah describe God this way:

Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt
and pardons sin…
Who does not persist in anger forever,
but delights rather in clemency,
And will again have compassion on us

Of all those beautiful words describing God, the one word that strikes me is ‘again’…’God will again have compassion on us’.  Over and over, again and again, despite our many failings, God blesses us repeatedly with loving pardon and compassion.  What more do we need, again, to change our hearts? -  Grace Happens Here by Max Lucado