SACRED HEART OF JESUS: “A GOD WHO HEARTS US SO MUCH”
A GOD WHO HEARTS US SO MUCH
One of the common expressions you see on the social media today mostly from the youths is “I HEART YOU”. The phrase was not difficult for me to decode when I first saw it on the social media, then I laughed and said to myself “Hmmm…the youths of today are great inventors when it comes to emotional issues…” Vis-à-vis the hermeneutic of the expression “I heart you”, we come to understand that it could either mean “I really like you”, or “I love you”; obviously because the heart is a symbol of love, and that is why it is used in lieu of love. Little wonder the heart it is often depicted in art with a figure of “love”; this shows how good a heart ought to should be – a heart engulfed in love (agape).
Dear friends, today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. All the three Readings of today talk about our God who hearts (loves) us so much. In fact, the First Reading from the book of Deuteronomy (7:6-11) makes use of the concept of “heart” as an allusion to the “love” of God for His people: “It was not because you are the largest of all nations that the LORD SET HIS HEART ON YOU AND CHOSE YOU, for you are really the smallest of all nations. It was because the LORD LOVED YOU…” As a follow-up, the Responsorial Psalm (103) and the Second Reading (1Jn. 4:7-16) resound this loving attribute of God. In the Gospel, Christ did not deviate, he says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and over-burdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Mt. 11:25-30).
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the font of love and the wellspring of Mercy. Therefore, being the emblem of love, the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is naturally defined. Was it not for the motive of love for humanity that Christ suffered & died? Was not all His inner, even more than His outward life dominated by this love? Put differently, this is the heart that loved us, suffered for us, passed through death, a heart that was pierced with a lance through His side, of which flowed “blood and water” (cf. Jn. 19:34). The Sacred Heart is often depicted in Christian art (like the image above) as a flaming heart shining with divine light, pierced by the lance-wound, encircled by the crown of thorns, surmounted by a cross, and bleeding. Sometimes the image is shown shining within the bosom of Christ with his wounded hands pointing at the heart. The wounds and crown of thorns allude to the manner of Jesus’ death, while the fire represents the transformative power of divine love.
Therefore, dearest friends, there are many lessons we ought to learn from our God who hearts us so much. Henceforth, we are called to make reparations to this Sacred Heart that loved and suffered so much for us; for the wounds and sufferings it endured etc., always seeking solace, inspiration, and consolation from the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In addition, as we often use the expression “I heart you” to describe the love we have for one another, let this be a true and sincere love; a love that seeks the good of my neighbour – an altruistic love clothed in agape; a love that transcends ethnic and religious bigotries; a love that refuses nepotism etc.; a love that makes us see ourselves as One People; above all, a love that brings about an utopic society.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, may our hearts be restless until they rest in you. Amen!