June 15, 2012 - Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Hosea 11:1, 3-4, 8-9
Isaiah 12:2-6
Ephesians 3:8-12, 14-19
John 19:31-37

Today we celebrate the preeminent devotion, the greatest devotion of Christianity: the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In the Sacred Heart we celebrate the human body of our Savior. The heart deservedly stands as a symbol of the whole body. It is at the center of the body, and the heartbeat is evidence of the life of the body. In the Sacred Heart, we worship the actual organ in the body of our Savior, beating from the time of its formation in the womb of the Blessed Mother, beating while he preached forgiveness and healed the sick, stopped by the Cross, pierced by the lance, begun again at the Resurrection, and still, today, beating in the body seated at the right hand of the Father.

Further, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is devotion to the love of Jesus, the twofold love of Jesus: the divine love and his human love. The Sacred Heart is truly symbolic of the love of God which created the world and which redeemed a fallen world, but it also expresses the fully human love which Jesus had for the crowds, for the suffering, for his disciples, particularly for the “disciple whom Jesus loved.” The Sacred Heart loved not only with the love of God, but also was the perfect human heart, loving in right relationship all things.

We are convicted by the Sacred Heart for our lack of love. If it were only a symbol of divine love, the love which created us, so stunning in its infinity, an infinity which is for all but no less infinitely for each, we are by definition incapable of such love, but, since it is also a symbol of Jesus’ human love, we are indicted when we see how much love a human heart is capable of. Consider how, in comparison, we love so little. How small is our love for our families, our friends, and our enemies! How little compassion do we have for the sick, the poor and the suffering!

The love, both human and divine, symbolized by the Sacred Heart is an unrequited love. Through all human history, God has loved humans with an everlasting love, but humans have ignored and insulted this love. There is no greater symbol of the human response to God’s love than the Sacred Heart pierced by a lance. Humans respond with violence against the very symbol of God’s love, as if, unable to repay the love, and refusing to be in debt, they try to destroy the love of God. Yet the lance, rather than destroy the Sacred Heart, only opens it further, pouring forth blood and water in the final symbol of the complete gift.

Jesus invites us today to learn from him, for he is meek and humble of heart. Let us take him up on this generous invitation. If we think that we know anything or have a certain amount of wisdom, but we have not yet learned about love, we are mistaken. We will be truly wise when we are masters of love: the love God has for us, the love we return to God, the love God has for everyone else, the love we have for those whom God loves. All this love is one Love. “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.” We will not be masters of love until the beating of our hearts is in perfect sync with the Sacred Heart. Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto yours.