Faith has a way of saying great things in the simplest of ways. Sometimes a few words say it all, like the simple words the publican in the gospel utters, not raising his head. “Be merciful to me, a sinner!” Sometimes signs like bread and wine point far beyond themselves to an infinitely generous God.
Today’s Feast of the Sacred Heart offers the sign of the human heart as a way of expressing divine love that cannot be measured. How is it possible to sum up all the words and works of Jesus Christ? He burned with love for us.
The feast of the Sacred Heart is always celebrated on Friday, the day Jesus showed us the depth of his love. The day he faced rejection, he gave himself to us. The day he died, he gave us life. John’s gospel sums up this mystery by pointing to an important but easily overlooked moment of that fearful day– a soldier pierced the heart of Jesus on the cross and blood and water poured out. “Immediately blood and water poured out.”
Look at these signs with eyes of faith, John’s gospel says. They are powerful signs of God’s love for us and for our world. A pierced heart says it all.
Almighty God and Father, we glory in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, your beloved Son, as we call to mind the great things his love has done for us.Fill us with the grace that flows in abundance from the Heart of Jesus, the source of heaven’s gifts.Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.Amen.
Consider who hangs on the cross for you,
his death gives life to the dead,
his passing heaven and earth mourn,
even the hard stones split.
Consider how great he is, who he is.
He slept on the cross
that the church be formed from his side
and scripture might be fulfilled:
“They shall look on him who they have pierced,
One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear,
blood and water flowed out
paying the price of our salvation.
He gave his blood that the sacraments give grace,
living water eternal life.
Bride of Christ, arise and like the dove,
like the sparrow finding a home,
drink from the wells of your Savior.
He is the spring flowing in the midst of Paradise.
from him four rivers flow to every heart,
watering the whole world and making it fruitful.
Run with longing,
cry out from your inmost heart:
Beauty of God most high,
Shining everlasting light,
Life that gives life to all life,
Light that illumines every light,
Water eternal and unseen, clear and sweet,
flowing from a spring hidden from all,
A spring whose depths can’t be plumbed,
whose height can’t be measured,
whose shores can’t be charted,
whose purity can’t be muddied.
From him flows the river
that makes glad the city of God.
So with songs of thanksgiving,
we sing hymns of praise.
With you is the fountain of life
and in your light we shall see light.
Adapted from St. Bonaventure.