“Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness.” (Hebrews 3:7-8)
Repentance does not happen in a day, it is a matter of constant and repeated efforts to change, to keep trying until one attains perfection in virtue. However, rather than make efforts, we tend to give up too quickly thereby developing what our first reading today calls the hardened heart. It says: “Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today,” so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin.”
It is bad enough that despite our efforts, we still fall but nothing can be more terrible than our refusal to get back on our feet when we fall. So many of us have stopped making efforts, we have given up on their childhood innocence and aspirations for Sainthood, we blame our role models for not showing us good examples yet we fail to see how quickly we too have become role models to others as well.
Sin is deceitful, it makes you think you have no choice other than to follow its suggestion, but you never know how powerful you are until you make up your mind firmly to reject whatever it has to offer. Each time you succeed in overcoming a particular temptation, its power over you weakens. Never assume that any sin is beyond your power. On the other hand, never allow the devil to deceive you into thinking you have gone too deep already into sin and you cannot go back. This is what it means to have a hardened heart. Remember those words from the Stations of the Cross: “No matter what my past has been, I can begin anew.”
Do not develop a hardened heart, instead be compassionate like Jesus who in our Gospel passage today was moved with pity to heal the leper. Have a heart that can shed tears over the plight of others, a heart that can be convinced to act in favour of others, a heart that does not seek its own glory but like Jesus would warn the leper not to announce his healing to anyone.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, our hearts have grown cold and rigid, we have stopped believing in ourselves, we keep going back to our old ways. We beg you to touch our hearts with your miraculous hands that we recover from our spiritual paralysis. Amen.
Bible Study: Hebrews 3:7-14, Psalm 95, and Mark 1:40-45).