Hosea 11:1,3-4,8-9, Ephesians 3:8-12,14-19, John 19:31-37
The solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus reminds us of the Heart that experienced suffering, torture, pain and pierce of a lance because of the love He has for us.
When the soldier pierced the side of Jesus Christ with a lance, blood and water gushed forth immediately. Hence from this suffering comes forth the blood and water that washes away our sins. Therefore today, we recount the Heart that died for us, to save us.
When we look at the Sacred Heart, we see a Heart that was broken, pierced and tortured for the love of us. He expects us to reciprocate this love but instead of showing our gratitude, we are showing our ingratitude.
The Heart of Jesus loves us but many do not love Him. The Heart of Jesus came down and suffered for us but many do not have His time.
This is why in the second reading, Paul prays that through the Father’s glory, that Christ may live in our hearts through faith, until we know the love of Jesus Christ for us. Understanding the love of Jesus for us is the knowledge that is beyond all knowledge.
A Little Historical Background
The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is as old as Christianity but began to gain little grounds from the 13th to 16th century.
At this time, the devotion was propagated, although not fully developed. So, many religious congregations like the Franciscans, and the Carthusians furnish many examples of it. It was nevertheless a private devotion.
In the sixteenth century, the devotion took another step through the efforts of people like Blessed John of Avila (d. 1569) and St. Francis de Sales, who revealed strong devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
From that time on, many began to write and speak about this devotion. Among them are the ascetic writers of the Society of Jesus, St. Francis Borgia, Blessed Peter Canisius, St. Aloysius Gonzaga, and St. Alphonsus Rodriguez and St Gertrude who is an early devotee to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. But yet, at this time, the devotion remained an individual devotion.
This continued until Blessed Jean Eudes (1602-1680) made it public by honouring it with an Office, and establish a feast for it. Gradually the devotion to the Sacred Heart develops.
On 31 August 1670, the first feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated in the Grand Seminary of Rennes.
Then on the 27th of December 1673, the feast of St. John the Evangelist, Our Lord Jesus Christ chose to appear to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. He revealed His desire for this devotion to be promoted and propagated.
Margaret Mary Alacoque, a strong devotee to the Blessed Sacrament right from childhood and a nun of the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary was said to have received many apparitions from Jesus Christ until 18 months later.
It is through these apparitions that the Lord revealed His desire, promises, features and forms of this devotion.
As the gospel of today shows, when we celebrate the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, we are not just celebrating it as a devotion but we are celebrating The Heart of Jesus which was wounded for love of us.
The Nature of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The feast of the Sacred Heart reminds us of the true nature of Jesus Christ. This helps us to know the type of person Jesus is, especially whenever we approach Him in prayers.
1.The feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ is a feast of the Heart that is sacred and Holy. He wants us to be holy and suffer Him no more with our sinful lives. Despite our weakness, He does not give up on us.
This heart is sacred; full of holiness, He wants us to be holy. This Heart demands our worship and respect. It is a heart that is full of grace and mercy.
2. The Heart of Jesus longs for the other. In the gospels, you see Jesus taking His time to heal, pray, teach and deliver others. He devoted His time to others. His life is only for the other and not for himself.
He takes time to pray for others, teach them, feed them, sacrificing His life just for our own sake. Hence Jesus also teaches us to do the same. Our lives are not only for ourselves but for others.
3. The Heart of Jesus is a heart that needs our relationship. He invites us in Matthew 11:28-30 by saying “Come to me”. He wants us to make out time for Him if we truly love Him.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque is a strong devotee to the Blessed Sacrament. Through this constant visitation, Jesus granted Him an opportunity to see a vision of Himself. Therefore, let us also have time for Jesus.
4. The Heart of Jesus is a heart that wants to help. He longs to limit our burden and save us from problems and challenges. This is the reason for suffering for us. He wants us to have eternal life. Jesus thinks of us. This is Jesus for you. The problem is that we do not have His time.
5. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a heart that easily forgives. A merciful heart. He does not remember our past. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. ( Romans 8:1).
Despite His suffering, He forgave His offenders. He also forgave the crucified thief and wasn’t interested in judging Him. This is Jesus for you.
6. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a heart that loves peace. Despite the denial, betrayal and abandonment by His disciples. Jesus still appeared to them with the greetings of peace and never bothered to blame anyone. This Is Jesus for you.
7.The Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ is a heart that so much loves us, full of humility. He washed the feet of His Disciples and told them to do the same. He shows His love wherever He goes. His love is immense. He showed his love for us even though we are sinners. (Romans 5:8).
8.The Heart of Jesus Christ is a heart that can sacrifice anything for our own sake. To redeem humanity, Jesus sacrificed His life.
The Way To Repay Jesus.
The only way we can repay this heart is to do the same: to be in a relationship with Him, to love Him and spend time with Him.
We have to live a life of Holiness and sacrifice, consoling the Heart of Jesus Christ. To repay Jesus, we have to live for one another, love one another, forgive, seek peace and promote justice. This is Christianity for you.
May God bless you dearest and give you the grace to come close to Him. May you encounter Him all the days of your life. Amen.