"At the sight of the crowds, Jesus' heart was moved with pity for them" (Matthew 9: 36). Can God have and show emotional feelings for us? Yes, He can. God sees our distressed human state and, moved by it, acts toward us in love. God loves us, the Bible says, so he is capable of feelings for us because love is an emotion that rises from the heart. In the person of Jesus, we know that God's heart was moved with pity at the sight of our dreadful sinful state, and he responded in love. Matthew's Greek word in verse thirty-six of the ninth chapter of his Gospel is "splagchnizomal, " a derivative of the Greek noun, Splagchna, which refers to the human heart, lungs, and intestines. In other words, Jesus' love for us came from the depth of his being.
Let's reflect briefly on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, moved with pity and sorry for our troubled and pitiable human condition after the fall. This past week, we celebrated the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on Friday and the memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Saturday. These liturgical celebrations focused on the divine and human hearts of Jesus and Mary consecutively as the center of mercy and love for fallen humanity. The heart is the deepest place for expressing deep love for another and the place of interior encounter with God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this about Jesus' heart of love: "He has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation, 'is quite rightly considered the chief signs and symbols of that...love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings' without exception" (478). In our intensified devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in June, we acknowledge the capacity of Jesus' heart to love us from the depth of his being; he loved us into life by obtaining mercy for our sins and saving us for eternal life. St. John Paul II, a devotee of the Sacred Heart, said the following about the devotion, and rightly so, "This feast reminds us of the mystery of the love of God for people of all times." Having been reminded, let us make our hearts like the heart of Jesus.
At this and all masses, Jesus summons us to receive and sends us to give love to others. As Jesus calls and sends the twelve apostles to seek out the lost and share his gift of love with them, so is he calling us to share the love that he gives us in the Holy Eucharist with others. As we embark on the journey into the heart of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist in this Year of Parish Eucharistic Revival, we should increase our devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the source of love, mercy, and salvation.
Let me take a moment to praise Jesus for allowing us to worship and praise him publicly as a parish last Sunday through the Corpus Christi procession. What a joyful and memorable day! Many thanks to everyone who facilitated and participated in the Eucharistic procession. We had a fabulous time because Jesus walked with us and uniquely blessed us. What was the most thrilling and touching moment for you as we bore Jesus in the monstrance and the procession through the center of Elizabethtown? Please share your personal experience with me in a sentence or two. You can email me at email@example.com
Let me close this message with a Eucharistic prayer that adores the Sacred Heart of Jesus: "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 unto the end of time."
Happy Father's Day and Happy Juneteenth!
In His Heart,
Fr. Bernard, OP