Repentance "Imprisons" Jesus In Our Heart

There is a connection in two passages from today’s and tomorrow’s Mass readings. In today’s entrance antiphon, it says: “I will raise up for myself a faithful priest; he will do what is in my heart and in my mind, says the Lord” (1 Samuel 2:35). This passage has a connection to the Gospel for Sunday’s Mass when Jesus begins His ministry and starts to preach: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:18).

The connection between these two passages is that they both have to do with the heart. The heart has a connection to my theory because the tree of life in the Garden of Eden is the heart. We have life when we are united with He Who Lives; we eat from the tree of life when we love, trust and obey God; when our heart turns back to God, when we repent, then we do what is in God’s heart to do. With a heart connected to God, our mind and heart conforms to God’s heart and mind.

The passage from 1 Samuel 2 proclaims the condemnation of the priest Eli and his family for not being faithful to God and for only being concerned with what was to their personal benefit: they did not care for God or others. God rejects them, and He says He will raise up for Himself a new, faithful priest who will do what God would have him do. Immediately following this prophecy, God calls Samuel and reveals Himself to the boy. Samuel is the new, faithful priest who will please the heart and mind of God.

Jesus begins His public preaching with the call to repent. Repentance means a turning back, and it signifies our hearts turning back to God. We have forsaken God and sought after ourselves like Eli and his sons, Hophni and Phinehas, and we need to turn our hearts back to God like Samuel. Our hearts are meant to be a holy home for Almighty God, and so our hearts first have to turn back in love to our Maker to receive His life and love.

Jesus says two closely related items: the first is “repent,” and the second is, “for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Insofar as we turn our hearts to God again, insofar as we open ourselves to Him once more, He comes to dwell in our hearts. Where He dwells, there is heaven. Thus, repentance is the doorway to the kingdom of heaven. Heaven will forever remain unattainable as long as repentance is missing. Repentance is the all-powerful act whereby even the gates of heaven cannot resist its abilities. The repentant heart is the home for Jesus, whom it makes its permanent prisoner, and Jesus said of this heart which turns in love to Him, “Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:38). Living waters flow out of the tree of life.

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