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Homily - June 28

     One day a heart surgeon removed a patient's heart to repair it. When the surgeon returned it to the chest he began to gently massage it back to life. But the heart wouldn't restart. After more intense measures were implemented the heart still would not restart. Finally, the surgeon knelt down and said a prayer; then he spoke into the ear of the unconscious patient. "Miss Johnson," he said, "this is your surgeon. The operation went perfectly. Your heart has been repaired. Now tell your heart to beat again." A few moments later her heart began to beat.
     Jesus is our great surgeon for broken or troubled hearts. Christ Jesus has the ability to mend our heart no matter what afflicts us. Therefore, whether we are dealing with fear, depression, sin, weariness, discouragement, evil, self-criticism ... whatever it might be that is invading our heart - cry out to the Lord in prayer. Lord, help me, make me stronger. Feeble heart, beat again.
     In today's gospel Jesus tells the apostles that he must have first place in their heart. You are to love me, Jesus says, more than anyone else. More than you love father or mother, more than you love son or daughter. Do not permit your want, desire, pursuit of, love of other persons or things get in the way of what's most important. Love of God and Love for me must come first.
     Yes, this is a mighty high bar. However, we must strive to reach it by making more room in our heart. Take every opportunity to open yourself more fully to Jesus. Whenever we do so, Jesus will enter bearing gifts of love, joy, peace, hope, and so much more.
     We hear a story about the prophet Elisha in the first reading. He has listened, followed, and prayed to God. A couple in Shunem shows great hospitality to the prophet. His heart beats with gratitude, compassion, and love; Elisha asks what can be done for her
(and her husband). He promises that a year from now you will have a baby son. Clearly, God cannot nor will He ever be outdone in the gift of love. Jesus is the clearest evidence of God's love for every human being.
     With confidence and trust pray often: Lord, help me, make me stronger. Feeble heart, beat again.