Jesus said, “It is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (verses 21-23) We have all these things inside us, or at least the seed of all of these things.
Looking at these verses without considering the gospel message that Jesus brings can be pretty discouraging, but this is not what we receive in Christ. There is more than finger pointing here. Jesus in his ministry highlights that God loves from the heart. God loves us, and God waits and desires our turning toward God. Forget about human-made ways to gain favour. Forget about the ways that we have always done things. It comes down to understanding that God loves us despite all these things and inspires our response: to show that same love for others. When we do so we fulfill our end of the covenant that God made with our ancestors and keeps with us.
God of compassion, you see us as we are and still love us. Open our eyes and turn our hearts to you so that we may be changed and become signs of your love in the world. Amen. — RS