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