The Sacred Heart of Jesus Has All We Need

Homily for Solemnity of the Sacred Heart
June 29, 2019; 8:30 AM
Sacred Heart, EGF (125th Jubilee with Eucharistic Procession)

Focus:          The Sacred Heart of Jesus has all we need
Function:    Let the Eucharist Lead


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One of the images here at Sacred Heart that has always captured my attention is the stained glass window of the Good Shepherd. It’s behind you in the balcony, but it’s always in front of me.  Of all of the windows in the Church, that one is the most vibrant and easy to decipher.  It’s the image that catches your eye, at least my eye, every time I walk into the social hall.

It’s a beautiful image but I’ve always thought it was a bit of an odd image, for us anyway. I have nothing against the Good Shepherd, but it seems to me that an image of the Sacred Heart would have been more appropriate for such a prominent spot.

Msgr. AI Merth was the pastor here when that window was installed. As it turns out, he had indeed asked for a stained glass window of the Sacred Heart to be commissioned for that space.  He desired that the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as the namesake for our parish, be honored in that way.  Imagine his surprise when they brought him into the church after installing the window and he saw the image of the Good Shepherd…He was quite disappointed.

When I heard that story, I shared Msgr. Merth’s sentiment. A beautiful image of the Sacred Heart might inspire one to a greater love and devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus under whose Lordship we have placed this parish, and whose feast we celebrate today.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus has all we need.

As Jesus hung upon the cross, the soldier’s spear thrust through his sacred side and pierced his Most Sacred Heart, pouring forth the treasure that was contained inside:

The blood poured out for the remission of our sins.
The water that cleanses us in baptism.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus has all we need. What is this heart?

It is the font from which all graces flow.
It is the wellspring of the Church’s sacraments and the source of their power.
It is a fount of love and mercy.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus has all we need because the love of Jesus is all we need.

What is this love?

It is the love that led him to sacrifice himself for the sake of the Beloved.
It is the love that leaves the 99 and goes in search of the one.
It is the love that rejoices when the sinner repents and comes home to the Father’s house.

The love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the love of the Good Shepherd.

Perhaps the image of the Good Shepherd is the perfect image for Sacred Heart parish.

It is the perfect image because the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the Heart of the Good Shepherd.

If you want an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,
If you want to see what it looks like in action,
look to the Good Shepherd.

I will tend my sheep.
I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered.
I myself will pasture my sheep.
I myself will give them rest.
The lost I will seek out: Baptism.
The strayed I will bring back: Reconciliation.
The inured I will bind up; the sick I will heal: Anointing of the Sick.

Such is the love of the Good Shepherd.
Such is the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus has all we need,
and God, in his love, allows this Heart to remain with us always.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus the Good Shepherd remains with us in the Eucharist.

Today, as we celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart, we let the Eucharist lead us.
Today, the sheep follow the lead of the Good Shepherd.

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We follow where he leads even if it’s not where we want to go.

We follow because we trust that he is leading us to the greenest pastures
even if we need to leave pastures that appear green right now,
to pass through the desert,
over barren rocky crevices,
into what seems like a wasteland.

We follow even though we’d rather stay put.

We follow even though we’d rather stay in Egypt.

We follow because we know he is leading us into the Pastures of the Promised Land,
to the better streams of a better life even in this world.

Today, the heart of the Good Shepherd will use you to draw others’ attention to his heart.

Today he will lead you along streets and sidewalks,
over railroad tracks,
across DeMers Avenue
through traffic and campground.

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Today he will use you to bring others to his Heart. Today you bear witness to the power of his heart in your own life.  Your footsteps on this pilgrimage today proclaim to the world, to the city of East Grand Forks: “I am willing to follow”.

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People may ask: “What are you doing?” Give a simple answer: “We are following the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Eucharist.  Join us!”

Take courage.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the Heart of the Good Shepherd who will never lead you astray.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus is all we need.

He now gives his heart to us again as we celebrate this Eucharist.

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His Body, His Flesh is now given to us to nourish us for the journey ahead.

His Blood, poured forth from His Sacred Heart,
will soon flow once again through our veins
just as we will soon flow through the streets of this city.

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May the Heart of Jesus,
in the Most Blessed Sacrament,
be praised, adored, and loved with grateful affection,
at every moment,
in all the tabernacles of the world,
even to the end of time.

The Ascension of the Lord

Homily for the Feast of the Ascension (Year C)
June 1-2, 2019
Sacred Heart, EGF:                  Saturday, 5:30 PM
Holy Trinity, Tabor:                 Sunday, 8:00 AM
St. Francis of Assisi, Fisher:   Sunday, 10:00 AM


ascension

40 days ago, at Easter, the joy of the Resurrection filled our hearts.

Today, the cause of our joy is the Ascension,
the day when our human nature was carried up, in Christ,
above the hosts of heaven.

Our fallen humanity was restored to its original glory, actually beyond its original glory, and raised up to the heights of heaven.

We just finished celebrating the month of May. May is the month of Mary.  We have the tradition of crowning the statue of Mary.  We crown her, acknowledging that she is queen of heaven but also queen of our hearts.

We crown her as queen because her humble “yes” to the announcement of the angel on the day of Annunciation led to the Incarnation of the Son of God. Divinity descends and is joined to humanity in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  She humbled herself and God exalted her.

Divinity descends and is joined to humanity. Jesus is fully God and fully man.  He is not half God and half man.  In him, divinity and humanity are joined together.  They cannot be separated and yet they are not mixed together.  It is a mystery that confounds the human mind.

It is a mystery proclaimed at every mass as the altar is prepared. The bread and wine are brought forward, and the priest or deacon pours a small amount of water into the wine and says:water and wine

By the mystery of this water and wine,
may we come to share in the divinity of Christ,
who humbled himself to share in our humanity.

God humbled himself on that day of the Annunciation by taking on our humanity, and today he is glorified as he is raised up to Heaven.

The mystery of Christmas is the mystery of the Incarnation.
Divinity is joined to humanity.

Today is the fulfillment of that mystery.
Our humanity is now taken up with his divinity.

In our opening prayer for this Mass, we prayed to the Father with these words:

the Ascension of Christ your Son is our exaltation,
and, where the Head has gone before in glory,
the Body is called to follow in hope. 

The Church is the Body of Christ.
The Body has a head, and that head is Christ.
That Body also has members, and we are the members.

May we come to share in the divinity of Christ
who humbled himself to share in our humanity.

the Ascension of Christ your Son is our exaltation,
and, where the Head has gone before in glory,
the Body is called to follow in hope.

He joined himself to our humanity so that we might be joined to his divinity.

Brothers and sisters,
ours is a high calling,
a sublime calling,
a call to the heights of divinity itself.

On Christmas Day, St. Leo the Great says these words to his congregation:

Christian, remember your dignity,
and now that you share in God’s own nature,
do not return by sin to your former base condition.
Bear in mind who is your head and of whose body you are a member.
Do not forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of God’s kingdom.

Brothers and sisters,

You are made to climb to the heights of Heaven!

You are made for an eternal weight of glory!

You are made to rise above the ashes of a mediocre life
that the world holds out to you
and to make your life an offering of fragrant incense
ascending to the throne of God
by striving to root out sin
and to live a life of heroic virtue,
a life lived for God in the midst of a world stinking from the smells of selfishness and individualism.

You are made to live as if you believe that you who are Jesus says you are:
a son,
a daughter,
of the Living God,
redeemed by the precious Blood of Christ beyond all price:

the blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel which cried out from the ground after Cain had slain him,

the blood of Christ that, today, as he ascends into Heaven,
now appears before God on our behalf,
interceding for us even as this same blood appears on this altar
and is raised up to God on our behalf with these words:

Through him and with him and in him,
O God Almighty Father,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honor is yours forever and ever.
Amen!

Mary humbled herself and God exalted her.

Jesus humbled himself and was exalted.

We, too, must humble ourselves
if we are to be exalted,
if we are to be raised,
to the heights of Heaven.

We must submit ourselves to him by allowing him to be the Lord of every aspect of our lives.

Pope Benedict XVI said this:

Jesus himself is what we call “Heaven.” Heaven is not a place.  Heaven is a person – the person of Him in whom God and Man are inseparably one.  And we go to Heaven to the extent that we go to Jesus Christ and enter into Him.  In this sense, “ascension into Heaven” can be something that happens in our every day lives.

And that is a reason for rejoicing today!