Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Sacred Heart of Jesus
Lectionary: 170

You are a people sacred to the LORD, your God; he has chosen you from all the nations on the face of the earth to be a people peculiarly his own. It was not because you are the largest of all nations  that the LORD set his heart on you and chose you, for you are really the smallest of all nations. It was because the LORD loved you....

"Because I love you!" we say to our children, parents, relatives and friends as we give gifts and show kindness. We say it again as we must sometimes rebuke or forgive them. We might even say it when we discipline ourselves, choosing to exercise, eat right, quit smoking or drinking. If we're to be there for them, we have to take care of our ourselves! (Unlike the teachers of those repulsive TV ads, we don't do it "for me.")

Because I love you may be the best motive for doing anything and the only way to achieve our goals. 

Today we celebrate the Sacred Heart of Jesus and we remember his naked affection for us. There is simply no other explanation for his birth in Bethlehem, his sacrificial life and death, and his Resurrection. 

As fallible, emotional, moody creatures we have often had cause to doubt God's love. Many people read the Old and New Testaments with suspicion. The "Old Testament God" is vilified for the angry sentences of the Hebrew Prophets and for his apparently arbitrary punishments upon Israel and Judah. But the "New Testament Jesus" is also suspected of not loving enough. "If he loves us so much, why did this happen?" people wonder as they face disappointment and sorrow. 

The Holy Spirit permits these anxious moments and then patiently brings us back. After a long recitation of trials and challenges and a harrowing story of rescue, the psalmist exults: 
He set me free in the open; he rescued me because he loves me. (Psalm 18:20)

The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with its Gloria, Creed and proper preface, is the final clap of a bell. The Easter bells rang loudly for many weeks and the ringers let go of the ropes on Pentecost. The bells kept swinging and ringing through Trinity Sunday and Corpus Christi and on this third Friday after Pentecost we hear one final, faint note as the bells fall silent.

And again we hear, " was because the Lord loves you." Keeping our eyes fixed on him, we cannot doubt it.

1 comment:

  1. Today I was Eucharistic Adoration thinking about this homily. Floating into my head was the old St. Louis Jesuits song, Take, Lord, Receive. There's a link to it.
    The line that kept coming was "your love and your grace are enough for me..."

    In Marriage Encounter they talk about love is a decision. It is my decision to love the Lord.


I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

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