When our heart is hardened, the gospel finds it hard to penetrate into our hearts. Every day we keep praying that things will be fine but instead of getting better, it goes to worse.
Everyday, things are degrading into the worst as if we are going into the oblivion, nothing is working effectively. There is never a day we do not hear the gospel message but yet it looks as if everything falls on deafening ears.
The truth is that we harden our hearts to accept the gospel truth. When we harden our heart, the gospel becomes hard to penetrate our minds.
We stuck to what we have believed and sometimes man keeps his heart hardened to any message of repentance or change. It can only take the grace of God to touch a hardened soul. When we our hearts, we become so difficult to be convinced. Sometimes, we see whatever that happens to us as a trash.
There are millions of churches around us, which people gather almost every week to feed their souls with life-changing messages, homilies, and sermons but yet nothing is working. Instead of working to change, we go from bad to worse.
Just like the Pharisees gather always to hear Jesus but do not do what He says, can be likened to how we gather every day to hear the word of God but refuse to live on them. Sometimes it sounds as if the things of God are nothing but a joke.
Today, Jesus likens this generation to children at market places who refuse to respond to whatever tunes piped at them nor people who refuse to sing or cry when they sing funeral songs for them.
They keep their hearts so hardened that nothing touches them. They are highly indifferent to the messages of salvation that Jesus gives to them every day, even in the synagogue.
Therefore, there are instances that also show when we harden our hearts. They are:
Inability to Listen
In the gospel, Jesus asked “What can I compare these people to? They are like children in the marketplace, about whom their counterparts complain: ‘We piped you a tune and you wouldn’t dance; we sang funeral songs and you didn’t mourn’ . Those people refused to pay attention to whatever that is said to them.
They refused to listen attentively to the tune nor the funeral song. When we harden our hearts, listening to the word of God, and keeping to it becomes a problem.
In the marketplace, the children were present, but they were not interested. In the same vein, we hear messages every day but we pay less attention to them. Sometimes we only choose the ones we are to obey and not obey. This is because our heart is very hard to accept the truth.
What Jesus said also indicates that nothing moves nor satisfies them. He did everything He could do and said everything He could say, but they seem not satisfied yet. It looks as if nothing touches them.
When we harden our hearts, nothing moves or touches us again. The fear of God continues to dwindle. We begin to lose the sense of the sacred. When we begin to lose spiritual satisfaction in the things of God, it is a sign that our heart is gradually losing its hunger for God.
Adherence to Self-knowledge
The Pharisees are teachers of the law, so they are already stuck to what they know more than any person. They did not consider the baptism by John as important (Luke 7:30) not even to the words of the Lord. Their strict adherence to what they think they know made them less responsive to the message of salvation.
Sometimes because of what we think we read on social media, or what we think we know, we refuse to accept the truths of the gospel. Thus hardening our hearts.
Underrates the messenger and the message
The Pharisees underrated John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. Hence, they paid less attention to their teachings either because they considered them as one of their own or because they know their backgrounds.
Also, many times we underrate those whom God has sent to speak to us. We underrate the parish priest because we are very closer to him. We water their messages down because we believe he is not gifted. Sometimes this affects our acceptance of what they teach and preach.
Reasons not to believe
The plain truth is, that the carnal mind of man is always in enmity against God. It does not like anything concerning the Gospel, God, and His Ministers.
In their rejection of the ministry of John the Baptist, the Pharisees said He was too extreme or that he has an evil spirit. When Jesus came, they complained that He is so free with sinners and tax collectors.
Such types of people always find reasons not to believe and obey the word. They might even go into the bible and find reasons to back up what they do. They will tell you that Jesus says “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God” and hence keep a distorted interpretation of the gospel.
Some will say that the word of God is fake.
This type of attitude makes us criticize everything as the Pharisees do, and hence keep our hearts hardened.
Not to Please Anyone
This gospel also indicates that we should not do anything to please anyone. Always do things because God expects that from us. We can never please everybody. Whatever you do or do not do, people will always find something to criticize or complain about.
Let it not keep you down, for Jesus suffered the same. Whenever we harden our hearts and become so indifferent to the gospel message, we will always refuse to listen nor accept the gospel message.
Sometimes we even brand it as foolish and a waste of time. Only those who have true encounter with God and strictly improve their spiritual lives everyday, will understand that the word of God is not fake. Let us always be willing to obey.
May God bless you dearest and give us the grace to rise above criticisms. May He help us to be open to the gospel message. Amen