Friday, June 7, 2013

The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

(Ezekiel 34:11-16; Romans 5:5b-11; Luke 15:3-7)

Long before the ubiquitous souvenir of New York was conceived, images of a heart were seen in many Catholic homes.  The heart belonged to Jesus but the image indicated that he wanted to share it with others.  To put it simply, the heart of Jesus indicated belief in his eternal love for the household.  All the readings of today’s mass tell the extent that the love will go.

For a long time the reading from Romans was understood as saying that God had made it possible for Christians to love Him.  As busy as people get in this world, it does seem like a supernatural feat to think about and then to love God.  But Paul actually has God’s love for His daughters and sons in mind in this particular passage.  This purely unmerited love moved Jesus to die on the cross.  It now fills Christians’ heart so that they may freely do what is right and so merit heaven.

Always falling on a Friday, the feast of the Sacred Heart gives us reason to contemplate Jesus love and then to imitate it.  Sometimes it means just being patient with those around us like a middle-aged man whose wife has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.  Under intensive treatments, the wife has become irritable with her husband, but he patiently continues to care for her.  Such grace will enable the woman to die in peace, and the man to live with peace of mind for a long time.