This week began ordinary time. Liturgically we have stepped out of the wonder of the great Christmas season. Our hearts were touched by the infant in the arms of his mother, the challenges faced by the holy family, the mystery of wise men following the star, the heavens torn open, the dove descending and the voice of the Father: "You are my beloved Son". After experiencing all of this the first reading is asking us: "what kind of heart do you have?" It notes that the Israelites also experienced the wonders of their liberation from the slavery in Egypt and yet many hardened their hearts. The reading spoke of erring, evil, and unfaithful hearts. We are warned that "the deceit of sin" can darken our vision to what is true and good.
We want our hearts to be on fire with the love of God and our neighbor, yet we are human and we fall short. Like the leper in today’s gospel we beg the Lord to make us clean.
Fr. Michael Hoolahan, C.P. is on the staff of Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, California.