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.
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.