Ezek. 34:11-16; Rom. 5:5b-11; Lk. 15:3-7
My dear brothers and sisters
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Devotion to the heart pierced on Calvary is nearly as old as Christianity, but it has undergone many changes over the centuries. Patristic writers saw in the blood and water issuing from the
crucified Lord’s side (John 19:34) the fulfilment of his promise to give living water (John 4:13–14; 7:37), the fountain from which the Spirit flows upon the Church.
The public cult celebrated today began in the seventeenth century, when Saint John Eudes pressed for a liturgy (Mass and Office) of the Sacred Heart. In 1672, Christ appeared to a French Visitation nun, St. Margret Mary Alacoque. Over a series of visits, Our Lord revealed to St. Margaret Mary the importance of devotion to His Sacred Heart. He asked that His heart, wounded on the cross and continually wounded by ingratitude of men for his sacrifice for them, be venerated and adored as an embodiment of His Divine mercy and love.
As a prolongation and accomplishment of this message, the Lord appeared to another Sister in the 20th century revealing the abyss of His unfathomable mercy; she was Saint Faustina Kowalska who wrote in her Diary, now world famous, these words of Jesus: “I have opened my Heart as a living source of Mercy, from it all souls draw life, all approach with deep confidence this sea of Mercy. Sinners will obtain justification and the just will be strengthened in goodness. I will fill the souls of those who put their trust in My Mercy with My divine peace at the hour of their death. My daughter, continue to spread devotion to My Mercy, in doing so you will refresh My Heart which burns with the fire of compassion for sinners. Tell my priests that hardened sinners will be softened by their words if they speak of my boundless Mercy and of the compassion which My Heart feels for them. I will give priests who proclaim and exalt My Mercy wondrous power, unction to their words and I will move all the hearts to which they speak” (Book 5, 21 January 1938).
The deepest longing of Christ's Heart is that we discover how much he loves us, the extent of his tender love for creatures who, cooled by their selfishness, look only inwards at themselves, as if they were afraid to let themselves be loved unconditionally by their Creator.
A Jewish Midrash on the Exodus account of Moses’ encounter with God compares the burning bush to the human heart: the only created thing which can burn without being consumed. Yet nothing seems to be harder for human beings to believe in than unconditional love—love that is neither deserved nor earned. The Sacred Heart of Jesus, aflame with an unquenchable fire, stands today against lingering traces of Jansenism as a powerful symbol of Christ’s unquenchable love for the whole human race.
Today our society, culture, economy, politics need this Heart. The more man distances himself from God the more he becomes 'heartless' and agitated about a thousand things. He finds himself alienated from the society, from home and from himself.
But there are many examples that spread rays of hope and belief in the goodness of humanity.
In 2005, 14-year-old Bill went trick-or-treating with family members. The next morning, he woke up for school but complained of being dizzy and said his head hurt. When he fell down, his mother called 911, and he was rushed to the hospital. After an emergency craniotomy, BJ was put on a ventilator for 7 days, but tests revealed that he was brain dead. Knowing this, his family made the decision to remove the ventilator surrounded by his family and friends. Through Bill’s death, he gave life to 4 other people with the donation of his heart, liver, kidneys, and pancreas.
In Calvary one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. As legend says it cured his eyes. Touching Jesus’ heart turned the doubting Apostle Thomas to an ardent believer.
Jesus’ heart that raised Thomas from despair to faith is ready to raise us up. He is inviting each one of us “Bring your hand and put in my side” He invites each of us to touch his heart and become like him. When we get that experience we will respond like Thomas, “My Lord and My God”