Day 230: A New Heart

Jeremiah 7:1-20 The Assyrian forces that had assembled at the walls of Jerusalem suddenly left without initiating a siege in 701 BC. This miraculous turn of events led many Jews to believe that the presence of the Temple was enough to ensure their security. Since their special covenant with God made them his Chosen People, they could not imagine the possibility of defeat and destruction. When Jeremiah tried to persuade them of the contrary, they simply chided him.


Ch 7:2 Proclaim there this word: The Word of God is not merely read but proclaimed in the Liturgy of the Word and is an important element of the celebration of every Christian liturgy. (CCC 127, 1154, 1184)


Ch 7:5-7 If you do not oppress...the widow: Neglect of the poor was condemned alongside other grave sins, especially when it victimized the underprivileged or disadvantaged.


Ch 7:9 The list of sins here is not exhaustive but representative of the entire Law and Commandments. Israel would not be able to avoid imminent chastisement without a change of heart and commitment of fidelity to the moral law revealed to Moses. It is important to bear in mind that liberation from sin and its effects is impossible without contrition and repentance. (CCC 2056-2063)


Ch 7:21-34 The people did not listen, and the prophecy turned back to a description of what Judah would suffer.


Topheth: This site of one of the “high places,” elevated mounds, or “poles,” was used in pagan worship. (CCC 1856)


Ezekiel 36:1-15 This prophecy of blessings upon Israel included all the central themes common to the major prophets of the Old Testament. It encouraged hope for salvation that necessarily began with repentance and conversion, which occasioned the necessary purification of all their sins and infidelities. The Lord would remain faithful to his covenant and would restore the people of Israel to their land as they awaited the coming Messiah. The salvation that the Messiah would bring to the Jewish people extends to people of all nations, bringing the human race to the unit of one universal family. (CCC 64)


Ch 36:16-24 The name of God is profaned and blasphemed in a certain sense whenever his Commandments are transgressed. The sins of anyone who claims to have a relationship with God makes religion vulnerable to ridicule; as St. Paul wrote, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” (Rom 2:24). Therefore, a consistent witness to faith is vital. By bringing the exiles back to Judah, God both restored his people’s land and revealed his presence and power. The manifestation of God’s providential power attracts everyone ultimately to himself. (CCC 2811-2812, 2814)


Ch 36:24-38 Through the intervention of the Holy Spirit, God the Father fulfills his promise to protect and assist his people. The prophet Jeremiah had already prophesied that the Lord would make a “new covenant” with Israel, and Ezekiel’s prophecy went a step further to explain that this would be established in the intimacy of the human heart. The Holy Spirit transforms the hardened heart and creates a new one, infused with grace and charity. By responding to these graces, a person grows in holiness, reflecting the love of Christ. (CCC 368, 1287, 1432)


St. John Paul II said that this canticle of Ezekiel draws out the “deep meaning of the tragedy” that the People of God experienced in the years of domination, defeat, and exile. “The sin of idolatry had contaminated the land that the Lord had given to Israel as inheritance...In the final analysis it was this more than anything else that was responsible for the loss of the homeland and dispersal among the nations. In fact, God is not indifferent to good and evil; he enters the history of humanity mysteriously with his judgment that sooner or later unmasks evil, defends its victims, and points out the way of justice...However, the goal of God’s action is never the ruin, the pure and simple condemnation or elimination, of the sinner” (General Audience, September 10, 2003)


Instead, as Ezekiel explained, Israel would be purified and renewed by its trials and suffering. “The prophet takes up this oracle and completes it with a marvelous explanation: The ‘new spirit’ given by God to the children of his people will be HIS SPIRIT, the Spirit of God Himself” (St. John Paul II, General Audience, September 10, 2003)


Proverbs 14:29-30 In line with this proverb, St. Paul also exhorted the Thessalonians, “Be patient with them all,” even when dealing with the weak or the lazy (cf 1 Thes 5:14). Some who appear weak may be pure of heart, and some who perform great acts may be struggling with many weaknesses, especially envy (cf. St Gregory the Great, Regula Pastoralis, 3, 10).


Ch 14:31 This verse is reminiscent of the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats in which CHrist taught that whatever we do to the “least of these my brethren,” we do to Christ himself (cf. Mt 25). The teaching refers not only to works of charity directed to the poor and needy but also to efforts in creating a more just society that is cognizant of the value of each person. (CCC 1916, 1928-1929, 1938, 2425-2426, 2442)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)


  • Good thing Fr. Mike is a priest because he does not do math too good 🤪

  • Yes, it is 235 days to go


  • GOSH YOU GUYS!

  • Jeremiah Ch 7 and Ezekiel Ch 36 it can’t get any better

  • Every day we’ve been reading this

  • And we have this sense that it can’t get any better

  • And here we are today and it’s SO POWERFUL

  • SO PROFOUND

  • IT KNOCKS YOUR SOCKS OFF

  • IT’S CRAZY

  • Here’s what I mean

  • Remember that Jeremiah is preaching right now at a time of REFORM

  • Remember that Josiah was the king that reformed the Temple, Temple Worship, etc.

  • Archaeologists have found more idols of false gods in the homes of people that date back to the reign of Josiah than almost any other time period

  • Because here is the king and he is saying, “You know we gotta get back to the Temple. We gotta worship the Lord like he deserves.”

  • AND YET…

  • The people on the ground, the people in their homes were like, “Ok that’s fine, King. We’ll do that. We’ll go over to the Temple as you’re telling us to do. That’s a good thing because I guess we’re Jewish and stuff like that.”

  • BUT IN THEIR HOMES THEIR HEARTS WERE FAR FROM THE LORD

  • IN THEIR HOMES THEY HAD NOT REPENTED

  • Even though King Josiah was leading this MASSIVE REFORM, they had NOT BEEN REFORMED

  • What were we trusting in then?

  • God promised that he would be here in our midst

  • His Presence would abide here

  • This was the worship that he asked for

  • Listen to this…

  • Jeremiah 7:3-4, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will let you dwell in this place. Do not trust in THESE DECEPTIVE WORDS: ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.”

  • Think about this…

  • God’s dwelling is in Jerusalem, right?

  • Out of all places ON THE EARTH this is where God has said, “I will not only abide, but this is the place to offer sacrifice. This is the place where I will receive your sacrifice. And this is the sacrifice that I am asking for.”

  • The Jewish people KNOW that they are the CHOSEN PEOPLE

  • This is MASSIVE

  • Not too many modern people, MODERN CHRISTIANS ESPECIALLY, can really fully understand the place and the importance of THE TEMPLE

  • Here are the People of Israel and they are saying, “Listen, I know things are kind of going to heck in a handbasket, but this is the Temple of the Lord. We are the Chosen People. God has made his promise to be with us forever. And therefore, we have NOTHING TO BE AFRAID OF. Even as you are doing evil. You are oppressing the alien. You are oppressing the fatherless and the widow. You are shedding innocent blood. You are going after other gods to your own hurt. You think I’m going to do this and then I’ll let you dwell in this place?”

  • Jeremiah 7:12, “Go now to my place that was in Shiloh where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.”

  • Remember, Shiloh was a place were sacrifices and offerings were made (If you’d like a refresher on where and what Shiloh was read Day 43, Day 94, Day 95, Day 96, or Day 97 in the Bible in a Year Study Guide 😁)

  • Basically, God takes his presence away from them

  • God is basically saying, “Listen, if you are going to keep rejecting me then fine. I will give you what you asked for.”

  • This is such a reminder FOR ALL OF US

  • There are people who are part of this community who are not Catholic Christians

  • There are a lot of us who ARE Catholic Christians

  • So many of us can say, looking at history, and we already read through the Gospel of Matthew

  • Remember in Matthew 16 Jesus said, “You Simon now your name is Peter. Your name is now ROCK and upon this ROCK I will BUILD MY CHURCH and the gates of Hell WILL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT.”

  • So we recognize that HISTORICALLY SPEAKING…

  • THEOLOGICALLY SPEAKING…

  • IT IS A FACT that Jesus Christ ESTABLISHED THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (And if you don’t believe me, ask Siri, Alexa, or Google “Who started the Catholic Church?” 😉)

  • AND YET…

  • TOO MANY OF US...

  • TOO MANY CATHOLICS SAY, “Oh no no no but Jesus founded THE CHURCH.”

  • “Yeah I’m Catholic and I’m not really belonging fully to the Lord, but you know Jesus founded THE CHURCH.”

  • We have the REAL PRESENCE OF JESUS IN THE EUCHARIST (Want a refresher on this Catholic Dogma? Go read Day 100: This is My Body in the Bible in a Year Study Guide for a refresher 😁)

  • We read about this in the Gospel of John Ch 6

  • Jesus makes it SO CLEAR that the EUCHARIST and what happens at the Mass is TRULY HIS BODY BLOOD SOUL AND DIVINITY

  • Some Catholics can be on our laurels and say, “Yeah, but we have the Eucharist”

  • “Yeah we are not conformed to Christ.”

  • “We are not bringing Jesus to the world like a lot of our non-Catholic Christians are”

  • “Yeah we are not doing a lot of these things.”

  • “Yeah we are not living up to the call of the Heavenly Father.”

  • “BUT WE HAVE THE EUCHARIST!!”

  • GOSH YOU GUYS!!

  • This is SO CONVICTING OF JEREMIAH CH 7

  • What Jeremiah is saying to the people is, “Yes here is the Lord’s presence in the Temple. But you are not worshiping him. You are not serving him in the way that he has asked you to.”

  • THIS IS TRUE FOR US CATHOLICS

  • Yeah we have the Eucharist

  • Yes Jesus established the Catholic Church

  • BUT…

  • If we are not conforming our lives to that REALITY, that TRUTH, then we are trusting in the WRONG STUFF

  • WE ARE TRUSTING IN THE WRONG THINGS

  • Now EXPAND THIS to ALL CHRISTIANS

  • Our community is MORE than just Catholic Christians

  • We are so glad and grateful for all those who are not Catholic, but are Christian who are PART OF THIS

  • BECAUSE EVEN THEN…

  • All of us can say, “Well yeah, but I have the Grace of Jesus.”

  • “I am covered by the blood of the lamb.”

  • “So therefore I can be kind of cavalier with my SIN.”

  • Here is Jeremiah who’s not only calling out the people of Israel and Judah at the time

  • BUT HE IS SPEAKING DIRECTLY TO US

  • He describes the people’s obedience

  • Jeremiah 7:17, “Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger.”

  • Basically it’s a FAMILY AFFAIR

  • This IDOLATRY and turning away from the Lord

  • This being completely LAX to the reality of the TRUE AND LIVING GOD

  • Children gather the wood

  • Fathers kindle the fire

  • Women knead the dough

  • To make cakes for the queen of heaven

  • Basically to worship these false gods

  • In fact the “queen of heaven” is a reference to the goddess Venus or other similar goddess (NOT MARY!!!! SHE IS NOT A GODDESS AND SHE WASN’T BORN YET!!! 😉)

  • It’s a FAMILY AFFAIR

  • ENTIRE FAMILIES have turned away from worship of the TRUE AND LIVING GOD

  • ENTIRE FAMILIES have turned away from following THE TRUE AND LIVING GOD

  • THEY ARE UNITED IN THEIR IDOLATRY

  • It doesn’t stop there…

  • Jeremiah 7:24, “But they did not obey or incline their ear, but they walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forwards.”

  • THEY WALKED IN THEIR OWN COUNSELS AND THE STUBBORNNESS OF THEIR EVIL HEARTS. THEY WENT BACKWARD AND NOT FORWARDS

  • THEY WALKED IN THEIR OWN COUNSELS AND THE STUBBORNNESS OF THEIR EVIL HEARTS. THEY WENT BACKWARD AND NOT FORWARDS

  • Some of the WORST ADVICE anyone has ever uttered on this planet is FOLLOW YOUR HEART

  • That is just one of the DUMBEST THINGS I’ve ever heard anyone ever say (Right next to “How bout dem Cowboys!!” 🤮🤮🤮 I kid because I love, Cowboys fans 😉)

  • Maybe in some context it may be accurate or appropriate

  • In some ways, we might say it’s a good path to recognizing what is going on in our heart

  • BUT…

  • Here is the Word of the Lord that declares oftentimes our HEARTS ARE DISTORTED

  • Oftentimes, our hearts are set on things THAT ARE NOT GOOD FOR US

  • Oftentimes, our hearts are NOT ALIGNED WITH THE WORD OF THE LORD

  • Oftentimes, our hearts are NOT ALIGNED WITH THE LAW OF THE LORD

  • And so what these people have done, JUST LIKE OURSELVES....

  • BUT THEY DID NOT OBEY OR INCLINE THEIR EAR, BUT THEY WALKED IN THEIR OWN COUNSELS AND THE STUBBORNNESS OF THEIR EVIL HEARTS

  • That is...man...so often ME

  • THAT IS ME

  • There was a man who worked out of Franciscan University Steubenville

  • He said the FIRST TWO MOVEMENTS OF CONVERSION are 1. DISTRUST OF SELF and 2. TRUST IN THE LORD

  • YES!!

  • YES!!

  • THAT’S EXACTLY IT!!

  • We recognize that we CANNOT BE TRUSTED TO BELONG TO CHRIST

  • We recognize that we CANNOT BE TRUSTED TO ALWAYS CHOOSE THE RIGHT THING

  • We recognize that we CANNOT BE TRUSTED WITH THE GIFTS HE HAS GIVEN ME IN CHRIST JESUS

  • AND YET…

  • I CAN TRUST IN THE LORD!

  • EVEN IN MY BROKENNESS

  • EVEN IN MY WEAKNESS

  • EVEN IF MY FAITHLESSNESS

  • I CAN STILL TRUST IN THE LORD!!

  • So the last word it this thing that keeps being brought up by the prophets

  • It starts in small ways

  • “I’ll just take God’s presence for granted.”

  • “I’ll just take the fact that God has chosen us for granted.”

  • Then we start WORSHIPING OTHER GODS

  • WE START GIVING OUR HEARTS TO OTHER GODS

  • WE START FOLLOWING OUR OWN HEARTS

  • Jeremiah 7:31, “And they have built the high place of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind.”

  • Remember that this FALSE WORSHIP often led to the Valley of Hinnom, or the Valley of Gehenna

  • This was where people offered THEIR OWN INNOCENT SONS AND DAUGHTERS

  • THEY BURNED THEM IN THE FIRE TO WORSHIP FALSE GODS

  • THIS IS HOW BAD IT HAS GOTTEN

  • This is Jeremiah who is prophesying a generation in advance BEFORE the destruction and fall of Jerusalem

  • Ezekiel Ch 36 is AFTER that destruction and fall of Jerusalem

  • KEEP THIS IN MIND

  • Ezekiel Ch 36 talks about the Blessings on Israel

  • Ezekiel 36:8, “‘But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people Israel; for they will soon come home.”

  • Remember they already had the THIRD WAVE OF EXILE

  • The Temple was destroyed

  • The city was destroyed

  • Ezekiel 36:9, “For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown; and I will multiply men upon you, the whole house of Israel, all of it; the cities shall be inhabited and the waste places rebuilt.”

  • WHAT AN INCREDIBLE WORD TO END ON TODAY!!

  • FOR BEHOLD I AM FOR YOU

  • AND I WILL TURN TO YOU

  • THIS IS THE WORD THAT WE NEED TO HEAR

  • Fr. Mike didn’t even touch on A New Heart and New Spirit in Ezekiel Ch 36

  • This is one of the most POWERFUL parts of Scripture

  • The Lord God says through Ezekiel in Ezekiel 36:26-28, “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. You shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.”

  • OH GOSH SO GOOD!!

  • But also one of the things we hear is that NEW HEART

  • Remember the BROKEN, DECEITFUL HEART of Jeremiah

  • He is going to talk about the heart again a couple of times

  • That DECEITFUL HEART of Jeremiah that we CANNOT TRUST

  • The Lord God says, “Ok, I put a NEW HEART within you.”

  • Keep in mind that his is not a NEW HEART that I can trust completely

  • This is a NEW HEART that will do what?

  • That will cause us to WALK IN THE LORD’S STATUTES

  • That will cause us to BE CAREFUL TO OBSERVE HIS ORDINANCES

  • It is NOT a new heart that I can DO WHATEVER I WANT NOW

  • It is a NEW HEART so that I CAN DO WHAT I OUGHT

  • THAT IS SO INCREDIBLE

  • WITHOUT GOD’S GRACE NONE OF US CAN DO WHAT WE OUGHT

  • NONE OF US CAN DO THE RIGHT THING WITHOUT GOD’S GRACE

  • So here is the PROMISED NEW HEART

  • Here is the PROMISED NEW SPIRIT in Ezekiel

  • WE JUST THANK THE LORD FOR THAT GIFT

  • WE THANK THE LORD FOR THE WORD WE END ON

  • FOR BEHOLD EVEN IN THE MIDST OF ALL THIS DESTRUCTION

  • EVEN IN THE MIDST OF ALL THIS WOUNDEDNESS AND FAITHLESSNESS

  • EVEN IN THE MIDST OF OUR BROKENNESS

  • GOD SAYS, “FOR BEHOLD, I AM FOR YOU, AND I WILL TURN TO YOU.”

  • After they TURNED AWAY FROM GOD

  • After they have been FALSE

  • GOD SAYS, “I AM FOR YOU.”

  • THAT’S WHAT GOD SAYS TO YOU TODAY!!

  • EVEN IN THE MIDST OF SIN

  • EVEN IN THE MIDST OF US LIVING LIVES THAT DO NOT HONOR THE LORD

  • HE DECLARES, “I AM FOR YOU, AND I AM WITH YOU,”

  • FR. MIKE IS PRAYING FOR YOU

  • PRAY FOR FR. MIKE

  • IT’S A LONG ROAD

  • IT’S A GREAT ROAD

  • IT’S AN INCREDIBLE ROAD

  • BUT…

  • IT CAN OFTEN BE A HARD ROAD

  • SO WE NEED EACH OTHER’S PRAYERS

  • THAT’S WHY THIS IS SUCH A GREAT COMMUNITY!!


Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and we give you glory. We thank you so much every day for your word, every day for your faithfulness to us, and also for you reminding us not only of our need to be faithful to you, but to be attentive to the people around us. Lord God, in Jeremiah you highlight how your people failed to take care of the needy, the poor, the orphaned, those without fathers, without mothers. And here in the Book of Proverbs you also note that those who oppress a poor man insult our maker and then we insult you. But he who is kind to the needy honors the Lord. And Lord God, we want to be those kinds of people that are not blind to the needs of the people around us, not deaf to the cries of the poor, but take the time to see, to note, and to act. Help us to never be false children to you. Help us to always be children who are like you not only in our thoughts and speech but also in our actions. Help us to be your image in this world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”