Three things stand out when you look at the Sacred Heart of Jesus. First, it’s on fire. Jesus’ heart blazes with love. You cannot put that fire out. His heart produces flames. We reach into those flames when we pray, when we turn to God. That is where our own fire comes from. That is how we avoid being lukewarm. We reach into his heart. Second, his heart is crowned with thorns. There is no true love where there is no cross, no sacrifice. That is true for us all. If you never hurt, if you never love in a heartbroken kind of way, you are not doing the Christian thing right. Lastly, his heart is wounded and from those wounds his blood flows. From his pierced heart come the sacraments of the church, the stream of salvation we are baptized into. His blood eternally flows out from his heart and covers us all.
Today Jesus ranks about prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We should be doing at least one thing in each of those three categories every day. Maybe it’s passing on the salt or morning coke, or an extra rosary, or doing someone a favor.
Today St. Paul take about the “genuineness” of our love. Our hearts are only genuine, he suggests, if we concretely show concern for others. This concern should be tangible, proveable. If it is not there, our hearts are not authentic, not what they were designed to be. Jesus tells us in our gospel today that we must love even our enemies. Love without limit, having concern for all. In a concrete kind of way.
Now is the day of salvation, says St Paul. God is in the business of saving us….and not just on the day we die, some day in the future. He is saving us, helping us, redeeming our lives….now.
Today I preached on Ps 63 and its Eucharistic nature and themes, as they related to our readings beautifully. The psalm goes like this, and I’ve put some thoguhts in brackets:
O God, you are my God, for you I long; [We are born with a longing for God. Which means we are born with a natural desire for the Eucharist]
for you my soul is thirsting. [We thirst for love, communion, peace…the Eucharist is all of that]
My body pines for you
like a dry, weary land without water. [without the Eucharist, we thirst to death…we pine–that is, we languish, we suffer, our spirits and souls wither up and die by what Msgr Pope calls “spiritual starvation.” Jesus says in today’s gospel: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.”]
So I gaze on you in the sanctuary
to see your strength and your glory. [adoration!]
For your love is better than life, [Jesus is better than everything! A piece of the host is worth more than all the gold int he world, all that we have]
my lips will speak your praise.
So I will bless you all my life,
in your name I will lift up my hands. [Faced with the Eucharist, how would we do anything but praise God, bless him, lift up our hands to him??? And yet some, leave, or take Eucharist for granted, or show no reverence.]
My soul shall be filled as with a banquet, [Yes! He gives us a banquet. Every day!]
my mouth shall praise you with joy. [The Eucharist brings us joy!]
On my bed I remember you. [REMEMBER…the mandate of the first reading]
On you I muse through the night [We should think of God at night. Most turn to the snares of the devil at that time. Thinking of God is a good antidote]
for you have been my help; [the Eucharist, our help]
in the shadow of your wings I rejoice. [the Eucharist, our protection]
My soul clings to you; [the Eucharist, our union with God]
your right hand holds me fast. [the Eucharist, our deliverer]
St. Paul reminds us today that it is the love of Christ that impels us, that keeps us going. It’s for the love of Christ that we don’t give up, that we keep on trucking, that we return when we fall. It’s for love of him that we live no longer for ourselves!
The first reading from St. Paul tells us that grace is given in abundance and that thanksgiving should overflow. It is a good idea to live our lives in such a way that other people’s hearts overflow in thanksgiving when they think about us. There are many people in my life for whom this is the case. When i think of them or pray for them, my heart overflows with thanksgiving that God should be so good to give them to the world, to me.