By Most Rev. Richard W. Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
A Shepherd After the Lord's Own Heart
"After the Lord's heart." The heart of Jesus, overflowing with love for us, is on full display throughout the Gospels. In the passage proclaimed last Sunday (Mark 7: 1-8, 14-15, 21-23), we can sense some pain in the heart of Christ, a suffering born of love. Quoting Isaiah he says: "This people honours me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." Forgive the play on words, but here we find ourselves at the "heart" of the matter. From the heart of the Father, Christ has come to the world to draw us to his own heart and thus enter the Father's love. The Christian life, at its heart, is a relationship of love. A merely external observance of Christian ritual or mores is insufficient. Through his critique of the empty formalism of the Pharisees and scribes, Jesus invites all of us to allow him to cleanse us interiorly, to purify our hearts, so that the union of love he wills to share with us might be brought about and deepen.
As we welcome a new shepherd "after the Lord's heart", let us be reminded of the call to open our hearts fully to the love of Christ.