The Undivided Heart
The Prophet Jeremiah reminds us about the deceitfulness of the human heart (17:9), the rupture of that original connection which facilitates humanity’s capacity for endless self-rejection. Love is forever bidding me welcome: my soul is forever drawing back. Despite this, the undivided heart is something I desire with all my heart. I seek that elusive alignment within myself of my inner and outer world. I am a living contradiction.
In Gethsemane we see this rupture at play. A kiss is a sign of devotion and loyalty in the outer world but, in this instance, the person administering the gesture is inwardly bent on betrayal. Judas lacks integrity. Jesus is a person of transparent integrity precisely because there is no rupture between his inner and outer world. What you see is what you get. His is an undivided heart, set only on doing the will of the Father with whom he is one.
We are told that Judas secretly helped himself to the contributions to the common fund (John 12:6). A thief, he was quick to betray the trust which the others placed in him. At the last, filled with remorse and despair, he ends his own life.
But before we judge and condemn Judas it might be worth reflecting on our own integrity. How often and how easily do I betray that connection between my inner and outer world, saying one thing and doing another? Can I identify with the words of Saint Paul, ‘For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing’ (Rom 7:19)?
The call to conversion is perennial because my backsliding is perennial. My prayer, therefore, is one for healing and it is made to the One who, though betrayed by Judas and betrayed by me so often, repays only with mercy and grace.
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