Draw Near to God with a Sincere Heart

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

All of us have met a person we sense is “phony” – a characteristic that is deadly in any interpersonal relationship. And all of us have met a person who truly appears to be “the real thing” – a very attractive quality in any individual. What is it that enables a person to exhibit this kind of open mind and heart; that allows one to act, speak and really be authentic, genuine, and honest, without a façade or artificial presence? For me, it is a matter of freedom – interior freedom. The kind of freedom that comes from knowing and trusting that one is a precious child of God.

God knows each one of us intimately. There isn’t anything about us that God does not know, and there isn’t anything we can keep hidden from God. Yet I wonder if there are times when we try to present ourselves to God as someone other than who we truly are. Maybe it is a question of honesty with oneself and with God. And perhaps there are times when, in reality, one isn’t always certain about who one is and how one feels or understands one’s own life. So in those moments, we try to “fake it” and present ourselves to God with a confidence that we simply don’t have.

Who are you before God and how do you think God sees you? I think God always delights in us – especially when we are our own, true selves – whether we’re certain or confused, confident or floundering, peaceful or restless, afraid or serene. As Jesus began His public ministry, His first teaching urged people to “wake up” and to recognize that the time had come – the Kingdom was at hand. He called the Apostles one by one to follow him and to proclaim the Good News.

Jesus calls each one of us today to do the same. This is a time for honesty – with oneself, with others and with God. For it seems to me that it is precisely when one freely owns oneself completely and presents oneself as one is to God, with all the doubts and uncertainties, successes and failures, dreams and fears, that one can be made whole by the God who knows us so well and loves us so unconditionally. So “let us draw near to God with a sincere heart, in full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:22a).

Fr. Ronan

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 23/24, 2021

The first disciples of Jesus in today’s Gospel left their work and their
daily routines to follow him. They abandoned their livelihoods, familiar surroundings and the lives to which they had become accustomed
to be closer to him.
The good steward finds ways to be removed from
what may be a comfortable existence or daily routine in order to serve
the Lord more faithfully.
All too often, out of fear, insecurity or even
selfishness, we refuse to leave the safety of the little world we have
created for ourselves in order to hear the Lord’s call and be challenged
by his Gospel.
Perhaps we should reflect on what comforts we need to
sacrifice in order to be better stewards of God’s mercy, compassion
and hospitality he planted within us.