Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus ~ The Very Rev. Lady Sherwood, OPI

Liturgical colour: White.

Reading I: Hos 11:1, 3-4, 8c-9

Responsorial Psalm: Is 12:2-3, 4, 5-6.

Reading II: Eph 3:8-12, 14-19

Gospel: Jn 19:31-37

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,  today, we come together to celebrate the Solemnity of The Sacred Heart of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Let us first look at today’s Holy Gospel Reading of Jn 19:31-37 (NIV):

31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

So what are we being told today?

The scene in our Gospel Reading today is immediately after Jesus’ death. Jesus’ body is still hung upon the cross. However, since the Sabbath was upon them, the bodies of Jesus and the two men crucified alongside him needed to be taken down and buried. John tells us that the Jews asked Pilate to break the legs of Jesus and also of the two men who were crucified with him. However, when the soldiers came to Jesus’ body, he clearly was already dead so they decided not to break his legs. Rather they chose to pierce his side with a lance! And as we know blood and water flowed out. This fulfilled the prophecy in Exodus 12: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” Thus, Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Messiah. Jesus truly was indeed the “Lamb of God” who had been sacrificed for  each and every one of us!!

Do we truly appreciate what Jesus did for every single one of us? Is Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection personal to us as indeed it truly ought to be? Or do we simply think of it merely as a historical story? Do we truly and  deeply appreciate Jesus’ willingness to sacrifice his own life for us so that we can live fully?

Today’s  Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus gives us the vital opportunity to ponder on all that Jesus freely chose to do for everyone, yes indeed, for you and for me! Do we realize how much Jesus continues to grace us within our lives today? Whether we are aware of it or not, we live deep within Jesus’ own heart. Truly there is no greater love than the love which Our Lord Jesus has for us!

Today I invite you to sit quietly with Jesus for a period of time. To take the time to truly  thank Jesus for the depth and the tenderness of his love for us. What a wondrous and enduring gift He continually gives to us! Today may we truly celebrate Our Lord’s sacred and loving heart.

Let us pray:

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, font of love and mercy, and source of every blessing,

Pour out your love upon our wounded human hearts.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, burning with the fire of charity for every soul,

Purify our hearts and draw us ever closer to your divine embrace.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, wounded by our own sins, and familiar with all suffering,

Forgive us of our sins and restore us to life.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, through which every heart finds solace and refuge,

Be our strength, our courage, our fortress, and our defender.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, proof of the Father’s love and desire for us,

We place all our trust in you. Amen.