Deacon Tony reflects: God looks at the heart

On Friday, Pope Francis used the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord to Consecrate humanity and especially Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the hope that through the intercession of the Mother of Our Lord, peace may be restored to the world. Today, in the United Kingdom we celebrate Mothering Sunday, a day when people traditionally returned to their Mother Church; which was where they were baptised or the Church they worshipped in as a child. It is a day when we honour mothers and thank them for all they have done for us. Today, we remember all mothers, but especially those who are no longer with us and those who are grieving for a child who is no longer with them. I pray for all who look upon this day with sadness, that they will be consoled by Our Blessed Mother, who wept for her Son on the Cross.

Today we hear in the Word of God, that ‘God does not see as man sees, they look at appearances, but the Lord looks at the heart’ (1Sam 16:7). The prophet Samuel was looking for the one who would be anointed King of Israel and first of all saw a fine-looking chap called Eliab; Samuel thought it must be him; he is the eldest brother, he worked his way through all of Jesse’s sons until he came to the smallest, the youngest, so insignificant to the family that they had him out looking after the sheep. This is who the Lord chose to shepherd His people.

We may see ourselves as insignificant at times, but the message from God is that everyone is significant and He has a role for each and everyone of us, we might just never find out what it is. This also reminds us not to judge people and certainly not to make assumptions on appearances.

In St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we hear a message which is as pertinent today as it was when it was first written 2000 years ago. ‘Try to discover what the Lord wants of you’. This message is really important, God has a job which only we can do. It may be something quite simple, like show an individual some kindness. We do not know what the result of that kindness will be; for us something as simple as making a phone call or a visit may change the other person’s life, and we may never realise how significant our little gesture was to that person.

In order for us to try and discover what the Lord wants of us, we need to get to know the Lord better. We need to spend time in prayer and find quiet time to learn more about Jesus and to listen to what God is telling us through Holy Scripture. Lent is the ideal time to form good habits, we may have decided to stop eating that or stop drinking this, but that is not what Lent is all about.

We should also be looking to find ways of doing more for God; praying more, perhaps picking up that religious book we have been meaning to read for ages; blow the dust off of it, open it up and read. It may be that we commit to carrying out more acts of mercy; make those phone calls, do those visits, talk to the homeless person on the street. Whatever we have committed to do, we are half way through Lent today and if we are a little bit disappointed by our Lenten efforts up until now, then we can recommit and make the rest of this Lent a time when we can form good habits to build us up for the journey through Holy Week; which leads to the joy of Easter.

Today the Church says rejoice, because the Lord is revealing himself more to us every week. Last week Jesus revealed himself as the Messiah to the Samaritan woman at the well. This week He reveals himself as the light of the world to the man cured of blindness. Jesus also calls out the Pharisees who drove the man from the temple, because they were so caught up in the rules they imposed; to see what was in front of them. Jesus, the Son of Man, demonstrates that God is a compassionate God; He wants us to open our eyes and see that. God does not ask us to do the impossible; He calls us to serve Him, to love Him and our neighbour. When we look back on the last week, how have we served God? How have we served our neighbour? When we look forward to next week, what do we need to do to improve? How can we serve God and our neighbour better?

Today our Elect, the Catechumens who, God willing be baptised at the Easter Vigil, celebrate their second Scrutiny. We get a chance to pray for them, they get a chance to reflect on what God is calling them to do. We are blessed by their presence; for their presence is a sure sign the Holy Spirit is alive and working in our Community. He is opening our eyes to see the needs of others, and helping us comfort those who grieve, visit the sick, give to those in need, welcome the stranger, contact the lonely and call others to Christ through the actions we do on behalf of Jesus.

For Jesus is the light of the world and we are children of the light.

Further Reading

The Scrutinies (

Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)1

CCC 280, 529, 748, 1165, 2466, 2715: Christ the light of the nations
CCC 439, 496, 559, 2616: Jesus is the Son of David
CCC 1216: baptism is illumination
CCC 782, 1243, 2105: Christians are to be light of the world

Please keep in your prayers

  • The Ukrainian and Russian people, may they be able to live in peace.
  • Those who are sick, those recovering from surgery, those who are dying, the recently deceased and those who mourn.
  • The Year of the Eucharist, that this will lead to a fresh outpouring of love by the people of God for the Body and Blood of Christ.
  • Eva Maria and Chiadika who are being baptised in St Bede’s Church this weekend.
  • Those preparing for and attending the Big Picture sessions on Mondays.
  • Those attending the RCIA course at St Bede’s on Wednesdays.
  • Our Confirmation candidates as they continue their preparations.

1 Catechism of the Catholic Church (