Week of June 18, 2017
June is the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Solemnity
of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is always the Friday after the Feast of the
Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). (This year we celebrate it on
Friday June 23rd ) The Feast of the Sacred Heart dates back to Pope
Clement XIII in 1765 when he approved it for use in dioceses. It was later
extended for the Universal Church by Pope IX in 1856. Pope Leo XIII
then wrote an encyclical letter in 1899 “Annum Sacrum” dedicating the
whole Catholic world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. So, we see the
Sacred Heart has a real place in our Catholic Tradition.
The concept of the Sacred Heart of Jesus also has strong biblical
roots as well! Often we hear from our gospel writers or from Jesus
himself how his “heart was moved with pity” or how his “heart was
sorrowful even unto death.” Jesus once invited his disciples to share their
yoke (burdens) with him for he is “meek and humble of heart” (Mt.
11,29). We hear how Jesus wept over ancient Jerusalem for its lack of
faith. And finally, at his crucifixion, we know Jesus was pierced by a
lance in his side and what flowed out was blood and water, symbols of
Baptism and Eucharist. There are many other biblical quotes and scenes
where we know the heart of Jesus was at work.
This said, the Feast of the Sacred Heart is really a beautiful reminder
that Jesus, although He is the Son of God, “the Word made Flesh”, the
“Man-God,” He also had a human heart much like us. Jesus had all the
feelings a real heart can bring, a great capacity for compassion and love,
a heart that rejoices with others and yet a heart that can feel alone,
abandoned, and hurt. There is probably nothing you or I have
experienced in our heart that Jesus has not also experienced in his heart
as well. This should encourage us and inspire us to have a “heart to
heart” talk with God! That’s the mystery and wonder of Christianity that
no other religion has!
I am fortunate enough to have a round stained-glass window of the
Sacred Heart of Jesus mounted at the peak of the ceiling in the living
room of my log cabin. It was a long lost item from the old, torn-down
church in Paynesville, Minnesota where I grew up and it was miraculously
found. How my father was able to get it in his hands and finally passed
down to me is a great story, and I am convinced this had a huge part to
play in God’s grace and work in my life and in my becoming a
priest. Stay tuned next week and I’ll tell you most of it! It is a remarkable
tale in my mind.
Words to Live by: “Sometimes Jesus calms the storm.
Sometimes he lets the storm rage and he calms the child.”
Fr. LeRoy Scheierl