Homily (Reflection) for Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (C) (3rd June, 2016) on the Gospel and the Solemnity
Ezek 34:11-16;Ps 22. (R. v. 1);
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus can be traced back to the eleventh century. It marked the spirituality of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux in the twelfth century and of Saint Bonaventure and St. Gertrude the Great in the thirteenth. The devotion to the love of God as symbolized by the heart of Jesus are found even in the fathers of the Church including Origen, Saint Ambrose, Saint Jerome, Saint Augustine of Hippo, Saint Hippolytus of Rome, Saint Irenaeus, Saint Justin Martyr and Saint Cyprian.
But the first liturgical feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated, with episcopal approval, on 31 August 1670, in the major seminary of Rennes, France, through the efforts of Saint John Eudes. The revelations to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque and Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart Droste zu Vischering gave this devotion more impetus. Mass of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was approved by the papacy for Poland and Portugal in 1765, and for Venice, Austria and Spain in 1788. Finally, in 1856, Pope Pius IX extended it to the universal Church. Pope Pius XI raised it to Solemnity in 1928.
Topic: You are God’s treasure.
We see in today’s gospel the parable of the lost sheep. In this parable, the owner of a hundred sheep would set out in search of any lost one until he finds it. And “When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices.”
It is touching that the sheep owner neither scolded the lost one nor complained of the stress it caused him. He also did not even demand an explanation of what led it away. As if these were not enough, he did not allow it to trek home instead carried it on his own shoulder.
We read from the Psalms, “Know that the LORD is God! It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture” (Ps 100:3; cf. Ps 74:1. 95:7. Ezek 34:31). This parable is therefore one of the illustrations of how much God loves each of us. The Psalmist also wrote, “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor requite us according to our iniquities” (Ps 103:10). And Jesus concluded the parable thus, “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous who need no repentance.”
We celebrate today God’s love for us symbolized by the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is time to cause great joy in heaven by returning from all the ways we have gone astray. If you are ready for this journey, let’s go back home to our God.
Bible Reading: Ezek 34:11-31; Ps 100:1-5. 103:1-14.
Thought for today: God’s love for us is too deep for words.
Let us pray: God, help us to respond positively to your love always – Amen.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus – Thy kingdom come!
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