Friday, June 11, 2021

The Boundless Love of the Heart of Jesus

The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus allows us to dwell with particular focus on the ineffable love of the Second Person of the Trinity, God the Son, that He offers to the Father and to us through His humanity. The Son loves us with His human Heart so as to accomplish our redemption and to "incorporate" us into His love for the Father.

The love of the Heart of Jesus saves us and empowers us as "adopted" sons and daughters in God's kingdom. 
The foundation of Christian life is God Incarnate, who touches our humanity concretely with His love. The Gospel text for the day (John 19:31-37) presents the love of Christ's Heart as the radical source of the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist. Indeed, through the Eucharist, He Himself reaches us here and now as the One who loves us and gives Himself wholly to us.

The boundless love of the Heart of Jesus "surpasses knowledge," and 'pours out' all through history to accomplish the Divine plan. He draws us, frees us from our sins, renews us, incorporates us into His Mystical Body, and engenders a new kind of love in us for God our Father and for one another as brothers and sisters.

Here are some texts from the liturgy that struck me especially:

In the SECOND READING, Saint Paul speaks to the Ephesians: “I kneel before the Father, whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:14-19).

The PREFACE to the Eucharistic Prayer bears the title: THE BOUNDLESS CHARITY OF CHRIST. "It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God, through Christ our Lord. For raised up high on the Cross, he gave himself up for us with a wonderful love and poured out blood and water from his pierced side, the wellspring of the Church's Sacraments, so that, won over to the open heart of the Savior, all might draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation."

Both options for the COMMUNION ANTIPHON allude to Christ's life-changing, transforming love as incarnate and sacramental:

"Thus says the Lord: Let whoever is thirsty come to me and drink. Streams of living water will flow from within the one who believes in me" (Cf. John 7:37-38). 

Or: "One of the soldiers opened his side with a lance, and at once there came forth blood and water" (John 19:34).

The PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION expresses our desire that Jesus's love might change the way we see all of reality, the way we love the persons through whom He calls us to grow and move forward in this life's journey toward fulfillment in Him: 

"May this sacrament of charity, O Lord, 

make us fervent with the fire of holy love, 

so that, drawn always to your Son, 

we may learn to see him in our neighbor. 

Through Christ our Lord."

The COLLECT for the day invokes the "overflowing measure of grace" that comes from this open, total gift of this human heart - the Heart of Jesus - and "the wonders of his love for us."

On social media, Pope Francis encourages us to have confidence in Him: I invite each one of you to look with confidence to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to repeat often, especially during this month of June: Jesus, meek and humble of heart, transform our hearts and teach us to love God and our neighbor with generosity” (Pope Francis).