At a funeral a person told a story about the woman who had died. A few weeks before, she almost went. Later she complained: “I was almost there, the Sacred Heart was coming towards me with outstretched arms and I was so happy, and they brought me back”. Conscious of the importance of the Sacred Heart devotion in the lives of many, lets confess where we lack faith in his love..
This feast represents, as that woman rightly saw, the deep and eternal love of Christ for each of us. This sense of rest in the heart of Christ at last, the delights of the world multiplied a hundred fold, was such that the woman didn’t want to come back.
That total love in the heart of God is typified on the cross, as we see in our gospel. There we see his heart being pierced with a lance for us. He had given everything to the last drop of his blood, so that when he was pierced for our sake there came out blood and water. So that woman rightly saw the Christ who died for us will not fail to give us every blessing on earth and unbelievable happiness in heaven if we only let him. And there the rub, as they say. Christ cant force us to accept his love and grace. His heart burns to save us, heal us, and bring us every blessing but we are free. he cannot help us unless we ask him.
This is the story of the two thieves. One, hardened by the world, mocks Christ and refuses his saving grace. The other, knowing his need for God, for his saving presence in his life called out to Christ and was instantly brought into paradise. We should be like that thief, for no matter what our lives are like Christ is always there for us. All we have to do is to reach out and take his hand and He’ll lead us to every delight.
That boundless love of God for us in Christ is beautifully expressed in our first reading. There God’s love is represented as a father or mother’s tender love for their child. God takes us in his arms, leads us with leading strings of love. He lifts us up like a mother feeding her child at the breast, but he gives the child also the more necessary food of love, he is like a mother lifting her little boy or girl to her cheek. And that’s only a faint reflection of the love of God for us in Christ. St Paul fills out that love in our second reading. He prays that Christ may live in our hearts through faith, so that planted in love and built on love we may grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth, until knowing the love of Christ which is beyond all knowledge, we are filled with the utter fullness of God. What can beat that description, and yet Puritans talk of God in terms of law and restriction; what a travesty!
For what we celebrate in the feast is the infinite riches of the love of Christ’s heart, beyond human understanding. How privileged we are through the practice of our faith, the Word, Holy Communion and prayer to experience and grow in that love of Christ until we go at last to meet him, like that woman, to rest in his outstretched arms. May our final glory be like that woman who saw the sacred heart coming to meet her; and may the immense joy she felt, be our joy too as we go out with all the saints at last to meet the Lord. For the trials and sufferings of this world will be no more, as we rest in his heart, the Lord of all joy and peace and love to whom belongs the real kingdom, the real power, and the real glory forever. For all else passes but his tender heart waiting to receive us is the end of all our journeying in this world, the end of all pain and frustration in our hearts too, made for love in his image. So as the people of God glorying in the immense love of his sacred heart for each of us, lets profess our joyful faith…
Prayers of the Faithful
And as people with a special place in the heart of Christ let us ask for the things that we need..
For our present gentle Pope, that like the tender-hearted Christ, he may reflect the infinite love of God to the whole world…
For civic leaders that they may govern the people with a special regard for each citizen’s unique dignity as a child of God, especially those vulnerable and poor among us..
For our youth that no matter what they do, they may never lose faith in the infinite love of Christ for them, and rest always in his sacred heart, beating ever with unconditional love for them.
For ourselves that in our homes, we may love our spouses and children with the same tender love as God has for us..
For the sick, the aged, and those suffering in body, mind or soul in any way that they may find in the heart of Christ the healing and peace that they crave..
For the dead that trusting in the mercy of Christ’s loving heart they may walk confidently into the heavenly home he had ready for them, from their first moment of life..
And we ask all these prayers through the same loving Lord who is with is forever in love, amen.
The heart is the emblem of love in society, from Valentine hearts to candy hearts to hearts shaped balloons for our weddings. The heart is more than an organ that pumps blood around the body, its a symbol of our deepest self, our deepest loves, our deepest aspirations; it is the very center of our feelings and our soul. It is there also that we meet the beating heart of the universe which is God, a God of creative beauty and love, who descending to us to love us in Christ. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart”. Lets ask Mary to help us to return the love of God that created us, with all the love our heart is capable of, until we are one with him forever..Hail Mary