Today (Monday, April 9th) is the day after Easter Sunday and thus it is the first day of creation for all Christians (and really even those who are indifferent or struggle with belief). We need to ask ourselves whether we have let things “soil our hearts.” The prophet Ezekiel (36:26) notes, “I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you a natural heart.” Even though we have just passed through a time of spiritual renewal within the Church season typically referred to as Lent, we need to examine our hearts and be aware if we have become too preoccupied with ourselves, filled with concerns and complications. We need to beg God for a new heart because if we give a little, God will give a lot! Matthew 6:21 states, “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” So we ask for a new heart by imploring, “A clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit.” Psalm 51:12. Things that typically soil our hearts include resentment, anger, lust, comfort seeking, sluggishness, a critical spirit, and arrogance. This coming Sunday, April 15th is Divine Mercy Sunday and this time of year continues to be a “re-examination” of what holds us back from possessing that “clean heart.” Divine Mercy Sunday is a day for even the most hardened of hearts. The grace of God’s mercy is for all people and since we are all sinners and bear personal responsibility for our faults and failures, what better time to return to Church and ask for God’s unending gift of mercy and forgiveness. Christ’s first words in the gospel of Mark (1:15) are simply, “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.