The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Readings of the day: RB 7:59Mass: Ho 11:1, 3-4, 8c-9; Resp Ps (Is 12); Ep 3:8-12, 14-19; Jn 19:31-37Sa
NB. This reflection was presented at a Communion Service today. The reader will recognize echoes from other blog posts, most noticeably that of May 25, 2018.May Christ dwell in our hearts through faith.
The theology of the today’s Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is wrapped up nicely in the Preface for Mass, with the fitting title, ‘The Boundless Charity of Christ’: ‘For raised up high on the Cross, Jesus gave himself up for us with a wonderful love
and poured out blood and water from his pierced side, the wellspring of the Church’s Sacraments, so that
, won over to the open heart of the Savior
, all might draw joyfully from the springs of salvation.’
My reflections come from pondering two aspects of the Preface: first, the wonderful love of Jesus; second, the implications of this wonderful love received in the Eucharist, the wellspring of the Church’s Sacraments.
What about the wonderful love of God described in the first reading by the Prophet Hosea: wonderful love that is tender, drawing us up into the arms of God, that raises us like infants, that feeds us and heals us? It is the love contained in Psalm 102 sung at Morning Prayer:It is God who forgives all your guilt,who heals every one of your ills,who redeems your life from the grave,who crowns you with love and compassion,who fills your life with good things,renewing your youth like an eagle’s.
This is wonderful love given to each and every one of us, without exception. We are to be won over by this wonderful love and do something with it. We turn to the Eucharist we are about to receive.
Every time we receive the Eucharist, every time the wonderful love of Jesus enters our hearts, we are transformed. We are drawn into the intimate and wonderful love of the Father and the Son. We cannot be onlookers or bystanders. We are to participate in this wonderful love. In a recent Catechesis on the Mass, Pope Francis told those gathered in St Peter’s Square: “‘Through the Eucharist’, the Lord Jesus enters in us, in our heart and in our flesh, so that we can ‘express in life the Sacrament received in faith’.” In faith then, we receive the Sacrament of Love. We are called to open our hearts so that our hearts can be pierced by Jesus, by wonderful Love. We are not to lock Jesus into our hearts though, keeping him for ourselves, not letting him out. Rather, we give Christian witness and express in word, gesture, and deed the unconditional love of Jesus Christ, the wonderful love of which Hosea speaks, and the psalmist sings. In other words, we receive so that we give.
There are myriad ways we may express the Sacrament of Love received in faith. A few ideas from St Benedict come to mind: ‘honour everyone; bear with one another in weaknesses of body and behaviour, and never do to another what we do not want done to ourselves’. Other ways to express Love received include sitting quietly with someone who is hurting, anxious, or in pain; listening to someone tell you her story or experience, even though you’ve heard it before, or simply smiling at someone. Most importantly, we can pray, for all those who ask for our prayers, for those who don’t have anyone to pray for them, and also for those with whom we are at odds, as Pope Francis says: ‘We all have our likes and dislikes, and perhaps at this very moment we are angry with someone. At least let us say to the Lord: ‘Lord, I am angry with this person, with that person. I pray to you for him or her’. To pray for a person with whom I am irritated is a beautiful step forward in love, and an act of evangelization.’ Pope Francis encourages us: ‘Let us do it today! Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the ideal of fraternal love!’ (Evangelii Gaudium, 101).
May our hearts, then, be won over to the open heart of the Savior. May the wonderful love of Christ dwell in our hearts through faith so that all may draw joyfully from the springs of salvation.