Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
(Hosea 11:1.3-4.8-9; Ephesians 3:8-12.14-19; John 19:31-37)
For forty years people have understood the meaning of the heart in “I (heart)New York” souvenirs. No one would suggest that it resembles the quality of love found in the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Where love for New York (or other locales that have copied the popular idea) is strictly self-aggrandizing, the Sacred Heart exhibits sacrificial love for its beholder.
Today’s gospel portrays the origin of the wound in the Sacred Heart. Hanging lifeless on the cross, Jesus’ side is lanced by a Roman soldier. The act is not intentionally brutal, but only indicates that Jesus is really dead. More to the point, by emitting blood and water the wound reveals that Jesus has loved his followers from the deepest part of his heart. No one’s sacrifice for another could be more complete.
We are always tempted to think of our love for God and neighbor as most consequential. Such a mindset, however, is misguided if not arrogant. Yes, we are to love the Lord and others but our love can be only a shadow of His love for us. That love, which neither tires nor chills, is redeeming and most consoling.