The readings for today are found at the USCCB website.
The readings today have everything to do with the battle in the heart. Jeremiah, through the Holy Spirit speaking to his spirit, says, “I knew their plot because the LORD informed me…” (Jer 11:18a). He trusted the Lord, but still had not realized the extent of the plots against him. Regardless, he obeyed the Lord and trusted Him, the LORD who spoke to his heart.
Does God speak to everyone in their hearts? Absolutely. Even the evil ones, who hatch plots against the Lord’s holy ones? (cf. Jer 11:19, Ps 7:2-3). Yes.
The contrast between the evil ones and the holy ones is also presented in the Gospel. God speaks, but they do not hear Him, because they have cut themselves off from His word with their hardness of heart. Their intellects can no longer be informed by the information presented outside of them, because what is within them is defiled and refuses to hear. Our human intellects are darkened as a consequence of our sins until we cannot even see, much less understand, the Truth.
We see this very clearly in the Gospel for today. The most interesting contrasts are between the guards and the elite, and then Nicodemus, (who is one of “the Jews”), and the elite. The elite are those jews who will not listen: the Pharisees, the Saducees, and the teachers and doctors of the law. They sent the guards to bring Him, but even the guards were captivated by Truth; their hearts were open. All it takes is a willingness on our part to believe; God will do the rest. Nicodemus seemed to want to be a voice of reason, and unveils the irony and hypocrisy: “Shouldn’t we first hear what He has to say?” After all, if they had asked the right questions, they would know that He was of David’s family and came from Bethlehem!
This convicts me because I am faced with my own personal hardness of heart, the kind that will not even ask the right questions. Perhaps this is a reason the Holy Spirit inspired Luke to give Jesus some last words that we do not hear in the other Gospels: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
None of us knows what we are doing, which is why we need a Savior. None of us is well, but many of us think we are. We cling to the law that is outside of ourselves, but if we do this, it can harden our hearts. Jesus fulfills the law with Life and Love. He says to the person in front of Him, “I love you first and foremost. Whatever you have done — I can and will forgive. Whatever your burdens are — I can and will carry them. Whatever ails you — I can and will heal.”
And then He says, “You just need to let me.”