In Book 23 of The Odyssey, Odysseus returns home after being gone for twenty years. When his wife Penelope did not show immediate joy or any other feeling, Telemachus accused her of having "hardened her heart." (Book 23, line 85). Apparently, Odysseus did not use facetime or Zoom to keep the home fires burning.
Many things can leave us with a heart of stone: grievous loss, abuse, exhaustion, rejection, emotional injuries, physical pain, a traumatic event, or angst over any of this happening to others.
Can a heart be made supple again? Are innocent feelings possible after such scars of life? Can light-hearted joy ever visit the mature soul?
The prophet Ezekiel wrote not long after the probable time of Homer. He spoke to a people in exile who were asking such questions. In the first lesson of today's Daily Office readings, he gives God's answer:
"A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 36:26
As a community, St. Margaret's has a fresh experience that the God who spoke to Ezekiel is still busy making things new. May it give us all hope in our personal struggles. Pull up an extra chair today and have a chat with Ezekiel.