The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Today’s readings

Yesterday I had a bad flare-up of plantar’s fasciitis, and had to go to the doctor. I was in pain a lot of the day, and it just got exhausting. In the evening, I was to have dinner with one of my priest friends, and when he found out how I was feeling, he had dinner for me at his rectory so we could relax and not have to walk around a lot. It was nice to be taken care of. I think that is true whenever we’re not feeling well: when someone takes care of us, it seems to heal us deep inside.

And that’s what today’s feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is all about. We are all broken and hurting and in pain, spiritually. We might ignore it, or offer it up, or worst of all, might try to mask it with alcohol or other addictions. But none of that really heals us. The only thing that really heals is the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

We don’t trust God as much as we should; we don’t let God love us as much as we should. We want to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps, take care of number one all by ourselves. Pope Francis says that God never gets tired of showing us mercy, it’s we who get tired of asking. And that’s so wrong. We weren’t made for that. We were made to be cared for and to be loved so that we can take care of others and love them in the name of Christ.

God’s love is awesome. It doesn’t just cover our sins, it wipes them out, obliterates them so that they aren’t who we are any more. In the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we find a love that is so pure and so powerful that it cannot be overshadowed by any kind of darkness, nor be snuffed out even by the grave.

But we absolutely have to let him love us, or we will miss it every time.

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Today’s readings

I remember when I was growing up, often visiting my dear grandmother.  I remember when we visited that she had a beautiful framed picture in the living room, given a spot of honor where everyone could see it, and that picture was of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Whenever I think of the Sacred Heart, I remember grandma, whose name was Margaret Mary, named after the saint who promoted veneration of the Sacred Heart in the first place.

And so, today we celebrate, with incredible gratitude, the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Through his most Sacred Heart, the love of God is made manifest among us.  This love is a pervasive love that burns in our hearts and changes our lives and leads us back to the God who made us for himself.  This love is irresistible if we give ourselves over to it.  It is a love that pursues us and a love that can go far beyond whatever distance we have fallen from grace.  It is a love that, as Moses tells us in the first reading, does not come to us because we are great, but because God has chosen us, and, as Saint John tells us in the second reading, must continue to be poured out by us onto the world around us.  We who have been loved into existence must love others as we have been loved.  The love of God pours forth from the heart of Christ just as the water and blood poured forth from his side as he hung dead on the cross.  Death could not stop the outpouring of grace that he came to bring.

Today’s Gospel reading gives us a beautiful picture of God.  God is love, in fact God is a community of love.  We can recognize God’s presence as we experience love; that is how the Son reveals the Father to his people.  God is love and creates us in love and sustains us in love.  In love, we long to return to him one day.

Today’s feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus finds us wholly consumed by grace.  We have been loved into existence by our God who made us like himself.  We have been loved into grace by Jesus who gave his life rather than live without us.  And we are being loved into heaven as we give ourselves over to the work of the Holy Spirit who is that love between the Father and the Son.  God is love and today we experience how powerful that love can be if we give ourselves over to it.

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Today’s readings

I remember when I was growing up, often visiting my dear grandmother.  She and I were best friends in so many ways.  I remember when we visited that she had a beautiful framed picture in the living room, given a spot of honor where everyone could see it, and that picture was of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Whenever I think of the Sacred Heart, I remember grandma, whose name was Margaret Mary, named after the saint who promoted veneration of the Sacred Heart in the first place.

And so, today we celebrate, with incredible gratitude, the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Through his most Sacred Heart, the love of God is made manifest among us.  This love is a pervasive love that burns in our hearts and changes our lives and leads us back to the God who made us for himself.  This love is irresistible if we give ourselves over to it.  It is a love that pursues us and a love that can go far beyond whatever distance we have fallen from grace.  It is a love that, seeks out the lost and strayed, and binds up the injured and the sick; and, as St. Paul tells us in the second reading, comes to us not by any merit of our own – God knows! – but only by the free gift of our God who made us precisely to receive this great love.  We who have been loved into existence must love others as we have been loved.  The love of God pours forth from the heart of Christ just as the water and blood poured forth from his side as he hung dead on the cross.  Death could not stop the outpouring of grace that he came to bring.

Today’s Gospel reading gives us a beautiful picture of God.  God is that shepherd who does the unthinkable: leaves the 99 behind to follow their own devices while he seeks out the lost one.  That’s more love than any of us has a right to expect, yet it is freely poured out to us.

Today’s feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus finds us wholly consumed by grace.  We have been loved into existence by our God who made us like himself.  We have been loved into grace by Jesus who gave his life rather than live without us.  And we are being loved into heaven as we give ourselves over to the work of the Holy Spirit who is that love between the Father and the Son.  God is love and today we experience how powerful that love can be if we give ourselves over to it.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus

Today’s readings

I remember when I was growing up, often visiting my dear grandmother.  She and I were best friends in so many ways.  I remember when we visited that she had a beautiful framed picture in the living room, given a spot of honor where everyone could see it, and that picture was of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Whenever I think of the Sacred Heart, I remember grandma, whose name was Margaret Mary, named after the saint who promoted veneration of the Sacred Heart in the first place.

And so, today we celebrate, with incredible gratitude, the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Through his most Sacred Heart, the love of God is made manifest among us.  This love is a pervasive love that burns in our hearts and changes our lives and leads us back to the God who made us for himself.  This love is irresistible if we give ourselves over to it.  It is a love that pursues us and a love that can go far beyond whatever distance we have fallen from grace.  It is a love that, as Moses tells us in the first reading, does not come to us because we are great, but because God has chosen us, and, as St. John tells us in the second reading, must continue to be poured out by us onto the world around us.  We who have been loved into existence must love others as we have been loved.  The love of God pours forth from the heart of Christ just as the water and blood poured forth from his side as he hung dead on the cross.  Death could not stop the outpouring of grace that he came to bring.

Today’s Gospel reading gives us a beautiful picture of God.  God is love, in fact God is a community of love.  The Father and the Son know each other in their loving, and the Holy Spirit then is the love between them.  God is love and creates us in love and sustains us in love.  In love, we long to return to him one day.

Today’s feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus finds us wholly consumed by grace.  We have been loved into existence by our God who made us like himself.  We have been loved into grace by Jesus who gave his life rather than live without us.  And we are being loved into heaven as we give ourselves over to the work of the Holy Spirit who is that love between the Father and the Son.  God is love and today we experience how powerful that love can be if we give ourselves over to it.

 

The Sacred Heart of Jesus

Today’s readings

I remember when I was growing up, often visiting my dear grandmother.  She and I were best friends in so many ways.  I remember when we visited that she had a beautiful framed picture in the living room, given a spot of honor where everyone could see it, and that picture was of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Whenever I think of the Sacred Heart, I remember grandma, whose name was Margaret Mary, named after the saint who promoted veneration of the Sacred Heart in the first place.

And so, today we celebrate, with incredible gratitude, the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Through his most Sacred Heart, the love of God is made manifest among us.  This love is a pervasive love that burns in our hearts and changes our lives and leads us back to the God who made us for himself.  This love is irresistible if we give ourselves over to it.  It is a love that pursues us and a love that can go far beyond whatever distance we have fallen from grace.  It is a love that, as Ezekiel tells us in the first reading, takes us out of the foreign land of our sinfulness and restores us to the promised land of grace, and, as St. Paul tells us in the second reading, is poured into our hearts from the heart of Jesus through the Holy Spirit.  The love of God pours forth from the heart of Christ just as the water and blood poured forth from his side as he hung dead on the cross.  Death could not stop the outpouring of grace that he came to bring.

Today’s Gospel reading gives us a beautiful picture of God’s love for us.  This love seeks out the errant sinner.  The question Jesus asks is a trick question, because not many shepherds would leave ninety-nine sheep behind to seek one out for fear that he’d lose the other ninety-nine too.  But Jesus is the good shepherd, the one who seeks the wandering ones out and dances with joy when they are found.

Today’s feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus finds us wholly consumed by grace.  We have been loved into existence by our God who made us like himself.  We have been loved into grace by Jesus who gave his life rather than live without us.  And we are being loved into heaven as we give ourselves over to the work of the Holy Spirit who is that love between the Father and the Son.  God is love and today we experience how powerful that love can be if we give ourselves over to it.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus

Today’s readings

sacred-heart-of-jesusI remember when I was growing up, often visiting my dear grandmother.  She and I were best friends in so many ways.  I remember when we visited that she had a beautiful framed picture in the living room, given a spot of honor where everyone could see it, and that picture was of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Whenever I think of the Sacred Heart, I remember grandma, whose name was Margaret Mary, named after the saint who promoted veneration of the Sacred Heart in the first place.

And so, today we celebrate, with incredible gratitude, the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Through his most Sacred Heart, the love of God is made manifest among us.  This love is a pervasive love that burns in our hearts and changes our lives and leads us back to the God who made us for himself.  This love is irresistible if we give ourselves over to it.  It is a love that pursues us and a love that can go far beyond whatever distance we have fallen from grace.  It is a love that, as Hosea tells us in the first reading, is rich in mercy, and, as St. Paul tells us in the second reading, dwells in our hearts through faith.  The love of God pours forth from the heart of Christ just as the water and blood poured forth from his side as he hung dead on the cross.  Death could not stop the outpouring of grace that he came to bring.

God, of course is love, and because we were made to love him, we have some of that love that is God within our own imperfect, sometimes stony hearts, that love that helps us to reach beyond ourselves and reach out in our need.

Three years ago, when I first came to St. Raphael, the first daily Mass that I celebrated with you was the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  And so it only seems appropriate, and yes, a little sad, that my last daily Mass with you is this same feast day.  It’s appropriate because all of you have helped me to come to know Christ’s love in so many beautiful ways.  In our worshipping together, and also in our serving together, we have loved one another and loved others in Christ’s name.  Celebrating Mass with you on these weekdays has been a labor of love for me, because you all come every day ready to celebrate and listen and pray and take the grace with you into your service in the day ahead.  What a great gift you have been to me; I will never forget that.

St. Paul prays that we would be filled with the fullness of God.  May we all be filled to overflowing with the love of Christ, so that we can pour that love forth onto a world which longs to be soaked in that love.  May the Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on all of us.

Friday of the Seventeenth Week of Ordinary Time

Today’s readings

[Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart of Jesus]

What kinds of mighty deeds is the Lord Jesus trying to do in our own lives? Is he finding success there, or have we put up obstacles through our own lack of faith?

Today we celebrate a Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for this First Friday. In this celebration, we realize that the “native place” of our Lord is in our own hearts. As he pours out the love of his Sacred Heart on us, he takes up residence in our own hearts in order to guide us and bring us to salvation. And so we cannot be like those in Jesus’ hometown who would give him no honor in his native place. We must joyfully give Christ honor in our hearts and let his love pour forth in all that we do and say this day and every day.

And just as Moses taught the people to observe the Lord’s commands for worship and rest on the Sabbath, so we too must carefully observe time for worship and rest in our own hearts, communing with our God who longs to warm us with his presence as the very blood flows through our bodies and who longs to guide the rhythm of our days just like the beating of our own hearts. May we all find a moment of our day today for contemplation to appreciate the presence of the Lord in our hearts and in our lives. May the mighty deeds the Lord longs to do in us pour forth from his Sacred Heart, which resides in the hearts of all of us.