How often have we heard those words? In grade school as young students daring one another to back up a bold claim.
In conversations with friends or family, when sharing something extraordinary that happened to us.
Even in our own moments of doubt, when we look to the heavens and whisper, "God, if you're there, prove it to me."
Jesus, moved with pity, heals him and then says, "See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them."
This directive from Jesus highlights a fundamental truth about our faith: it is not enough to be healed; our healing must be evidenced through our actions and our compliance with God's commands.
This week on February 14th, Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday share the same date, a rare occurrence that invites us to reflect on the nature of love.
Valentine's Day, a celebration of romantic love, reminds us of the joy and beauty of human affection.
Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, calls us to a love of a different kind: a sacrificial love that demands we rend and mend our hearts in preparation for Easter.
Our Lenten theme, "Rending and Mending Our Hearts," speaks directly to this journey. To rend our hearts is to open them up to God's transformative grace, acknowledging our sins and our need for God's mercy.
It is a painful process, akin to the purification laws we heard about in Leviticus. Just as those with leprosy were called to present themselves to the priest for cleansing, we too are called to present our brokenness to the Lord, trusting in His healing touch.
To mend our hearts, then, is to allow God's grace to heal us, to restore us to wholeness. It is a process that requires not just faith but action.
We prove our healing by how we live out our faith: in love for one another, in service to those in need, in forgiveness extended to friend and foe alike. These are the proofs of a heart being mended by God's love.
This Lent, let these words echo in our hearts and minds. How will we prove our love for Jesus?
How will we demonstrate the healing and transformation He has worked in us?
The challenge is clear. Our faith must be visible, tangible, lived. It is not enough to say we believe; our lives must bear witness to the love and mercy we have received.
As we embark on this Lenten journey, let us embrace both the rending and the mending with open hearts. Let us be mindful of the ways in which we can prove our love for God and for one another.
Through acts of charity, moments of prayer, and the disciplines of fasting and penance, we offer a testimony of faith that speaks louder than words.
In this Eucharist, as we come together as a community of faith, let us ask for the grace to live out our healing in such a way that it becomes proof of God's love and mercy.
May our actions reflect the depth of our commitment to Christ, proving to the world that we are indeed His disciples, transformed and made whole by His love.