Friday, June 27 ~ Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Holy Gospel: John 19:31-37
Since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may come to believe. For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled: Not a bone of it will be broken. And again another passage says: They will look upon him whom they have pierced.
True love does not count the cost, but gives everything for the beloved. Jesus withheld nothing, but gave everything he had for our sake. Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) says that “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us to love.” In the cross of Christ we see the love of God broken and pierced for our sake. Jesus reigns triumphant at the right hand of the Father. He has risen in glory for our sake and he intercedes for us in heaven. He stands before the throne of heaven with his marks of victory – his pierced side, hands, and feet. Who can fathom the love of God? For all eternity we will gaze upon him who was crucified and who rose for our sake. The Lord Jesus calls us to lay down our lives in sacrificial love for one another. Only a broken and contrite heart can fathom the mercy of God revealed in Jesus Christ.
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that we, who glory in the Heart of your beloved Son and recall the wonders of his love for us, may be made worthy to receive an overflowing measure of grace from that fount of heavenly gifts. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Do you know the heart of Jesus – a heart that was pierced for your sake and mine? Of all the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ death, John mentions that the soldiers pierced his heart with a lance. This was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah 12:10: “when they look on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him”. The heart of Jesus was pierced for our sake. He willingly went to the cross and laid down his life as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. If we want to understand the depth and breadth of God’s love for each of us, then look upon the heart that was pierced for you and for me. That is the reason Jesus went to the cross, to redeem us from slavery to sin and death.
About the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
The devotion consists in the divine worship of the human heart of Christ, which is united to His divinity and which is a symbol of His love for us. The aim of the devotion is to make our Lord king over our hearts by prompting them to return love to Him (especially through an act of consecration by which we offer to the Heart of Jesus both ourselves and all that belongs to us) and to make reparation for our ingratitude to God. Devotion to the Sacred Heart was the characteristic note of the piety of Saint Gertrude the Great (1256-1302), Benedictine nun and renowned mystic. She was, in fact, the great exponent of devotion to the Sacred Heart. In our efforts to honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus we have this prayer of Saint Gertrude’s as a model for our own:
Hail! O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and quickening source of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, and burning furnace of divine love. Thou art my refuge and my sanctuary, 0 my amiable Savior. Consume my heart with that burning fire with which Thine is ever inflamed. Pour down on my soul those graces which flow from Thy love, and let my heart be so united with Thine, that our wills may be one, and mine in all things be conformed to Thine. May Thy divine will be equally the standard and rule of all my desires and of all my actions. Amen.