Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus – Jn 19:31-37
Today we celebrate the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Church has such love for the Sacred Heart that she made this day a solemnity, and Pope Pius XI explained why in his encyclical, Miserentissimus Redemptor. He wrote that “a summary of all our religion and, moreover, a guide to a more perfect life [is] contained in this one devotion.” The devotion to the Sacred Heart is a summary of our religion because of the profound way that it brings us closer to Christ. This is because, as the Catechism teaches, “the heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others” (2563). As we heard in today’s Gospel, blood and water, the Eucharist and baptism, reconciliation and salvation, flowed from Christ’s pierced heart. This is what is contained in Christ’s heart. As we examine His heart, we see His love for us, and as we draw close to the Sacred Heart, we draw near to His mercy. This is exactly what Pope Saint John Paul the Second noticed: in his encyclical Dives in Misericordia, he writes that “The Church seems in a special way to profess the mercy of God and to venerate it when she directs herself to the Heart of Christ. In fact, it is precisely this drawing close to Christ in the mystery of His Heart which enables us to dwell on . . . the merciful love of the Father.” Christ gives us His heart so we can see the depths of His love. Indeed, Pope Saint John Paul II so loved this devotion that he said the Litany of the Sacred Heart was his favorite prayer.
Fr. Jean d’Elbee summarizes this idea of drawing near to Christ beautifully when he writes poetically: “Before the apparition to St. Margaret Mary, Jesus could think, ‘I have given them everything. I have given them my sweat and fatigue on the roads of Palestine; I have given them all my Blood on Calvary; I have given them the gift of my beloved Mother; I have given myself in the Eucharist. What more can I do that they may believe in my love? I know: I shall give them my Heart: I shall give them the source of all these follies of my love. But if they do not love me after I give them the gift of my Heart, when will they love me?’ Mediate on the love of Jesus in His Gospel, on the love of Jesus in His own life, and then mediate on the love of Jesus in your own life.”
We can ask ourselves: do we really believe in the love that Jesus has for us? Are we convinced of His goodness towards us? Today, let us pray for the grace, through the intercession of Mary and Her Immaculate Heart to really embrace Christ’s love for us as expressed in giving His Heart to the world and sparing nothing for our sake.