|2 Samuel 11:1-4,
2 Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6, 6-7, 10-11
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit
I suspect that all of us at one time or another have experienced a rampant, burning desire: It might be out-of-control sexual desire like David's, or it might be wanting that new car or house, or that job title, or to win that huge lottery jackpot. Most of us know, I believe, what it is like to be driven away from God by appetite, by lust.
How subtle and sneaky this evil. Not much gets in the way, and almost any means seems appropriate, when we're overcome by self-will run riot. David even resorts to murder. Instead of being horrified by his own thought of setting up the killing of Uriah, David is methodical -- to David, his actions in the moment probably seem quite rational.
We know what happens later: David is confronted, realizes the enormity of his sin, repents and suffers consequences. Of course, he's not the only one who suffers. Count the number of innocent people who were hurt as a result of David's actions.
About the only force that can set things right in such a situation is the love of God. The older I get, the more I realize that we just can't do much of anything worthwhile without God. That is why we pray to Him to create in us clean hearts. Sometimes, driving to work or waiting in a line somewhere, I'll experience a fleeting sense of what it must be like to have a clean heart. There is a letting-go, a sense that I could, if I wanted it enough, "just give the world a break." It means letting go of every resentment. It includes everyone: Everyone who has hurt me, betrayed me, discounted me . . . EVERYONE. Sadly, this "letting-go" is gone as quickly as it came, but the memory persists. I believe the source of such experiences is God. It does not come about as a result of anything I've done, I'm certain.
What if that fleeting experience is like the mustard seed in today's Gospel reading? Could it be that what I ought to do is hold on to the memory of the moment of letting-go, and nurture it? Could it be that I might even have a desire for a clean heart that is as drivingly powerful as my desire for the things of the world? You could call it lust for God's grace. Might I some day experience that?
All I can do is sincerely ask God to plant the seed in my heart.
Just the tiniest grain of desire in that direction might grow into a great
wondrous thing. Maybe all it takes is a little letting go.
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