READINGS for 2009-06-19
Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
They will look upon him whom they have pierced. – John 19:37
She was a battered wife. Her husband beats her up every day giving her bruises all over. More than the physical pain, it was the way her husband makes her feel worthless that hurts her the most.
Years later, the husband fell seriously ill and the wife, as loving as she had always been, cared for him as if he never caused her pain. Jesus had been pierced and wounded many times over, not only at the Crucifixion but every time we give in to our fallen nature and yield to sin. But in His mercy, Jesus offers us forgiveness as well as strength to overcome life’s challenges. He doesn’t keep a record of our wrongs. Rather, He gives us the gift of salvation. We may have hurt Him many times but He will never forsake or leave us. In Him we find true joy and consolation. Jane Gonzales
There is no sin too difficult to resist in the face of God’s abounding love and mercy.
Dear God, forgive me for those times when I hurt You. Keep me ever in Your care and cover me with Your divine love and affection. Amen.
The prophecies of Hosea introduce us to a new way of understanding God, namely as a God of Love. Up until this point in their history the Jewish people have an image of God as Creator and all-powerful, a God of the Law but have not really come to an understanding of Him as a God of Love. Hosea and the tradition to which he belongs will change all that as he introduces to us the idea of God being the lover of His people. Perhaps the Song of Songs expresses this tradition most strongly.
Hosea 11:1. 3-4. 8c-9
1 Thus says the Lord: When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son. 3 Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms; 4 I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks; Yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer. 8 My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred. 9 I will not give vent to my blazing anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again; For I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you; I will not let the flames consume you.
P S A L M
Isaiah 12:2-3. 4. 5-6 (3)
R: You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
2 God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior. 3 With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation. (R) 4 Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name; among the nations make known his deeds, proclaim how exalted is his name. (R) 5 Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement; let this be known throughout all the earth. 6 Shout with exultation, O city of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel! (R)
Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians is quite mystical in its language and thus we have to open our minds and hearts to our imagination in order to draw forth its insights. As we reflect upon the Feast of the Sacred Heart, it reminds us of the utter fullness of God — there is no good thing lacking in God. In a certain sense, we have that truth revealed to us in the sacrifice of love Jesus makes on the cross — a sacrifice that invites us to come and share in the fullness of all God is — to become one with Him in love.
Ephesians 3:8-12. 14-19
8 Brothers and sisters: To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light [for all] what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things, 10 so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the principalities and authorities in the heavens. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness of speech and confidence of access through faith in him. 14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 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, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
G O S P E L
What is the symbolism of the blood and water that flow from Jesus’ side after it is pierced by a lance? For me the greatest symbol is that it indicates that Jesus has given all in love for us. St. Bernard of Clairvaux tells us that a single drop of Jesus’ blood would have sufficed to save us, yet He gives far more than that. This points to the excessive nature of God’s love for us. It is as though He could not find enough
ways to demonstrate His love for us!
31 Since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, 34 but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. 35 An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may [come to] believe. 36 For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled: “Not a bone of it will be broken.” 37 And again another passage says: “They will look upon him whom they have pierced.”
think:The sacrifice of love Jesus makes on the cross invites us to come and share in the fullness of all God is — to become one with Him in love.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR 1 Samuel 25-28
receivinG GoD’s love
We grow up today with the sense that if we have not earned something, we do not really deserve it. Even if we are happy to use something that we know we do not deserve, there is a gnawing feeling that will not let us forget that we have no right to demand such use or pleasure. This is a problem of modern humanity when it comes to learning about the unconditional nature of God’s love for us.
The truth is that none of us deserves to be loved by God. In fact, none of us could ever hope to earn God’s love no matter what we achieve, simply because any one of our sins, let alone the accumulation of them, harms our relationship with God to the degree that it is impossible for us to repair the damage. We have harmed a relationship that is based on the infinite love of God and we are only comfortable of finite actions or reparation. Hence the beginning of our dilemma — we do not deserve to be loved by God, let alone redeemed by Him. Yet this is exactly how God chooses to relate to us.
For us to receive the fullness of God’s love, we have to overcome that sense that tells us that we do not deserve His love or forgiveness. Even though this is true, the choice of God enables us to move beyond our incapacity and to enter into His ability and capacity to overcome our finiteness with His infinite love and forgiveness. Today we celebrate the infinite depth of God’s love for us and we rejoice in the truth that His love has redeemed us and will continue to do so until the end of the world. The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a Feast of Love — God’s great love for us, made manifest through the life of His Son, Jesus. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL
Have I truly opened my heart to the free gift of God’s love in Jesus? Or do I continue to try to earn that love so that I can claim some credit for my own salvation?
Holy Spirit, grant me the grace of true humility so that I will readily acknowledge my own incapacity to love without first receiving the free gift of God’s love for me.
St. Romuald, Abbot, pray for us.
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