On this day of the solemnity of the sacred heart of Jesus, we are reminiscent of the love the Son of Man has for all of creation. The filial love of the persons of the Father & Son bring forth the life giving Holy Spirit that is bestowed upon all of God’s creation. From what started in the medieval period with devotions to the memory of the passion & suffering of our Lord & His most precious wounds to the focal point of the life giving organ of the heart allowed this memorial to come to fruition. The mystical experiences of those such as St Gertrude the Great and St. Margaret Mary paved the way for this memorial of the sacred heart of Jesus. Led by the Holy Spirit, Pope Leo XIII consecrated the church to the most sacred heart of Jesus in his encyclical of a holy year in Annum Sacrum in 1889 (https://www.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_25051899_annum-sacrum.html).
We are reminded in John’s gospel of a detail not mentioned in the other synoptic gospels where blood & water flow from the side of our Lord at being pierced by a lance (Jn. 19:34). As Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews reminds us, it is blood that purifies & without blood that is shed there is no forgiveness (Heb. 9:22). The life giving water that nourishes us & cleanses our death from sin in the sacrament of baptism is a reminder of the water that flows from the side of our Lord. Per the story of John the Baptist who baptizes us with water while Jesus baptizes with the fire of the Holy Spirit (Mk. 1:8) reveal an important Christological reflection about the fullness of Jesus’s humanity and divinity. God became one of us where his human flesh becomes a sacrificial offering of pure love to intermingle with His beloved human creation made in His image.
Today also marks a U.S.A. Supreme Court decision where the law of abortion & taking of life is questioned by jurists in robes of honor. No matter what side of the political fence one is on, we must all admit that life is a precious gift when seen within the lens of a loving & compassionate heart of God in the person of Jesus. John’s gospel reminds us that “there is no grater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend” (Jn. 15:13). We must and should do better as Christian disciples. Much of society is a consumeristic & narcissistic society. We hold that life is about convenience and blissful hedonistic tendencies where we ignore our elderly, impoverished & weakest among us in order to achieve self-love. We are all about having choices, free will & reign of our very being and bodily form until we come to the stark conclusion of our need for dependence toward something greater than ourselves. We may preach about the sanctity of life until we are repulsed by our neighbor that holds a different view than ours. We may be likened to the parable of the Good Samaritan where we can easily cite our platitudes and rules for how we ought to live life instead of how we should live our life. It is easy to scoff at the misfortune of our fellow man while following the “law” where we are akin to the priest & Levite passing by the half dead victim in our midst that was robbed on his way to Jericho (Lk. 10: 29-37).
We must have a heart for all life from womb to tomb. Do we truly commemorate the sacred heart of Jesus by carrying our daily crosses and being dependent upon His agape love? This love of Jesus is meant to be shared with everyone for we are all formed and knitted in our mother’s womb and are wonderfully made (Ps. 139:13-14).
Let us unite our hearts to His most sacred heart & cherish all life by our actions, prayers & very being to live more piously and humbly this day.