Homily for the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
June 19, 2020
Sacred Heart, EGF – 8:00 AM
Focus: The Sacred Heart of Jesus bleeds, binds, burns, blazes, and beats.
Function: So must ours.
The Lord has set his heart on you, on us.
He has set his heart.
We hear way back in the book of Deuteronomy, Moses telling the people: “The Lord has set his heart on you.”
We celebrate today the feast of that heart, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The image of the Sacred Heart, of course, we know well. And I think the image itself tells us a lot about God’s love for us.
I think, in particular, there are five things that we see in that image.
The heart bleeds, because it was pierced.
The heart binds, and it is bound, by the crown of thorns.
The heart burns: the cross and fire that are on top of the heart.
The heart blazes: the rays of light that shine forth from it.
And it beats: it is alive. It beats with a living heartbeat because Christ is alive.
So, each those in their turn:
First, it is a heart that bleeds,
a heart that bleeds because it offered itself in sacrifice,
a heart that was willing to be pierced for us,
that desired to be pierced for us,
in order to save us.
It is a heart that suffers, and suffers gladly, for love of us. It is the heart of the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep.
Pierced and bleeding,
a blood of bleach flows forth which washes away every stain of sin.
The heart bleeds because it is open,
open for you and open for me,
a fountain of life from which we drink,
the wellspring of the Church’s sacraments,
the very stream, the blood that flows from that Sacred Heart is what gives power to the sacraments.
It is a heart that bleeds.
Secondly, it is a heart that binds.
The crown of thorns around the heart is like a wedding band around the finger of Christ’s Heart, uniting his heart to our heart, Bridegroom united to his Bride.
It is a heart that binds in a Holy Communion by offering his Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity to us. And in receiving that Communion, we are, in turn, bound to him. And in being bound to him, we are set free: set free from our sins, set free to truly live and to love as he calls us to love. Every morning, when we pray morning prayer, we are reminded that “God has come to his people and set them free.”
A love that binds with a bond of love so tight that it can never be broken.
Thirdly, it is a heart that burns.
The flame on top of that heart, with the cross above that flame, providing the wood for the sacrifice. A heart that is consumed with love for us. A heart that burns within him, that pines, that yearns, that longs and aches for us. A stirring, a burning in the Heart of Christ. He says: “I have come to cast a fire upon the earth, and how I long to see the flames leap up!”
It’s a love that burns,
that burns away the selfishness of every sin.
And for hearts that cannot or will not open themselves to receive that love,
the burning of that love can be experienced as the fires of Hell,
a rejection of Christ’s love.
But his love is meant to be a love that moves us to repentance and stirs us to love of God and neighbor, a love that draws us to himself.
It is a heart that burns.
Fourthly, it is a love that blazes.
The rays of light that blaze forth from the heart light the way for us.
This love is attractive. Just like the light of a bonfire draws everyone in toward the fire and toward one another, so the love of Christ draws everyone to his Sacred Heart. The brightness of his mercy shines forth. He leads us to himself with the love of his heart, the love of the Good Shepherd. And in his light, we see light.
And, brothers and sisters, when we can be filled with the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, they see it within us, and we glow, we radiate, we shine, and we help others to see.
It is a love that radiates.
It is a love that blazes.
Finally, it is a heart that beats.
It is a love that is alive. With you is the source of life. Dead in sin, we were brought to life by the love of his Sacred Heart.
So, the love of the Sacred Heart:
It bleeds to justify us.
It binds to unify us.
It burns to purify us.
It blazes to glorify us.
It beats to enliven us.
Can these qualities be said of our hearts?
Can these qualities be said of the love in our hearts?
Do they bleed?
Do they bind?
Do they burn?
Do they blaze?
Do they beat?
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto yours.