Thursday, August 23, 2012

Memorial of St. Rose of Lima, virgin

(Ezekiel 36:23-28; Matthew 22:1-14)

St. Rose of Lima wanted to enter a convent, but the privilege was denied her. Undaunted she took the habit of sisters of St. Dominic as a member of the Third Order. Then she virtually established her own convent by taking care of the city’s destitute and the sick and giving herself to prayer and penance. She prayed, “Lord, increase love in my heart.” That the human heart is made for love is attested in today’s first reading.

Ezekiel promises that Israel will have a heart transplant. In place of its stony heart that refused to love God and neighbor, it will receive a tender heart to love as humans ought. The prophet adds that this will be done through the gathering of the people in a new land and with the sprinkling of cleansing water.

It is confounding to think how Ezekiel’s prophecy might have been fulfilled when contempt and carelessness still persist today. Yet we know that Jesus has renewed our hearts in Baptism (the sprinkling) which brings us into his Church (the new land). Regrettably, however, some choose self-gratification rather than his way of love.