Posts Tagged ‘Sacred Heart of Jesus’
Today’s Solemnity is a favorite in the Liturgical Calendar. Often, on this Solemnity, we remember our priests, and we pray for the sanctification of priests. Last week when our priests were on retreat, I remember sharing with them at the beginning of one of our Masses that the renewal of the Church is intimately hinged to the holiness of our priests.
I am also remembering today that on this Solemnity last year, we dedicated the Diocese of Cheyenne to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I hope the Lord sees growth in holiness and our efforts to renew the faith or our local Church.
As I flew from Atlanta to Louisville last night, I was silently praying a rosary. As I meditated upon the first Luminous Mystery, a new thought came to mind of Jesus’ Baptism. I found it interesting that as Moses began to lead the people of Israel out of slavery, he (with God’s power) parted the Red Sea. Also, as Joshua prepared to lead the people of Israel across the River Jordan into the promised land, he (with God’s power) stopped the flow of the Jordan.
Jesus at the beginning of His ministry returned ‘to the water’ for another sign of God’s power and glory. His Baptism by John sanctified the waters of the earth. His Person is for the first time revealed by the Father as the Spring of Salvation. (Isaiah 12)
John’s Gospel today recalls the moment on the cross when Jesus’ ‘lifeless’ body is pierced by the lance of a soldier, only to unleash the ‘Spring of Salvation”; the water and blood that flow eternally now through the Church in Baptism and Eucharist.
This moment also recalls the encounter of Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman, as He reveals to her that He alone is the font and source of the Water that eternally quenches the thirst of the human heart.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is indeed our Spring of Salvation. As we ponder this mysterious love of God, that required the passion and death of His Son, it is an invitation to us to allow God to be God for us today.
How often do the suffering and sacrifices of our lives make us question God’s love? Indeed, we are better off allowing God to be God, and not limit God by asking Him to be a god that meets our limited view of things.
Let us make a full act of faith today in the Providence of God, as revealed to us in and through the Sacred Heart of Jesus. May our hearts always be open to receive what God wishes to give us, as God wishes to give it.
In Mark’s Gospel, as elsewhere, we hear Jesus refer quite often to the human heart. One such passage we read during Mass earlier this week when Jesus quoted the Prophet Isaiah: This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.
Later in the same Chapter 7 Jesus says: But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him. From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus heals a leper. We can easily limit our insight here to Jesus’ capacity to work miracles, to cure the sick. But there is something far greater being revealed. Jesus, in healing the body, is also expressing his great desire to make each person “whole”. His very presence in the world, His very presence in any (and every) human life is an expression of the “in-breaking” of God’s Kingdom.
Jesus desire to make us “whole” expresses His desire that our lives be an “expressed integrity” of faith. Jesus clearly wants to heal our hearts, even more than our bodies. He wants the desires of our hearts to be compatible with the way we live our lives. Jesus longs for our will to be the will of the Father. Jesus’ longs to strengthen us in such integrity and wholeness, and thus to strengthen us in holiness.
With so much attention rightfully being given to the HHS Mandate of the Obama Administration, we can use the area of human sexuality as a perfect example of such integration. Since we believe in the dignity and sanctity of the human person, then we are called to ‘connect the dots’ to see that the same dignity and sanctity accompanies the human act of love that conceives human life. We are called to bring this ‘integrated understanding’ to the belief that the ‘sacred sanctuary’ of the womb which nurtures and nourishes this newly conceived human life is also a place filled with the same dignity and sanctity.
May the people of this day and age grow in a proper understanding of the human person. May we be open to receive the Gospel Truth of Jesus who instills such wisdom in all of us. May we be open to the grace to eliminate any duplicity between faith and action in our lives. May we live, and worship, with our hearts united to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus; July 1, 2011: Homily
For several months, I have looked forward to this celebration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I’m not sure how to put the desire of my heart into words, and part of that I hope is because I believe the desire is that of the heart of Jesus. I had hoped on this day that we would be ready to promulgate our diocesan pastoral strategic plan. However, there is still a bit more work that needs to be done in this regard, and that work is mostly a work of prayer and discernment regarding the redaction of the vast amount of information that has been shared and compiled over these recent months. I wish to thank the many people who have attended the numerous listening sessions, and especially the priority task force members and diocesan pastoral council for their hard work.
The celebration of this Solemnity of the Sacred Heart is significant as we enter into a time of renewal in this diocese. Our pastoral strategic plan is meant to be a guide for all of us as we strive to open ourselves to the power and presence of God at work in the Church and in each of our lives. All pastoral ministry is to strengthen our life in Jesus Christ. It is a dual and simultaneous process of personal growth in holiness which leads to the ongoing mission of the Church. It is both personal and communal at one and the same time. This process by definition requires close attention to our relationship with Christ. It requires time spent in intimate communion with Christ, and there is no better means of entering into this Communion than through the Sacraments, spending time with God’s Word, spending time in quiet prayer and contemplation, and devoting conscious effort to acts of charity and love.
I have several hopes today as your bishop, as we consecrate our diocese and each of our families to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and enthrone His Divine image in each of our parishes, institutions, and homes. Mostly, it is my hope that today will serve as a reminder to each of us that we are nothing without Christ! All our initiatives, plans, work and effort is useless if not done in and with and for Christ. Each of us is incomplete without Christ. Today, I pray that all hearts and minds may be intently focused on Christ, for as Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel: “no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”
In a world where many still do not know Christ and at this time when a growing number seem to publically advocate denying Christ and His Gospel which preaches His absolute Truth, we publically today consecrate ourselves to Christ and renew our commitment to preaching Christ and His truth to the people of this time and place, of this Diocese of Cheyenne. In this culture of today, our world needs each and every one of us who claims to be Christian, to be men and women of integrity and people genuinely striving to lead lives that are holy and pleasing to God, and this means lives that are deeply rooted in Jesus Christ.
On our pilgrimage of faith, and this Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, we call upon Jesus Christ to renew His grace and presence within us as individuals, and with this, His one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. We pray that Christ will renew within us a moral strength and virtuous compass as we strive to live the Gospel values that will further God’s Kingdom in our midst. For us to be renewed in such virtue and holiness and moral integrity, we need Jesus. We cannot do this of our own accord or any way we would fashion for ourselves. It is only by the grace of God and the person of Jesus Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit that such renewal can and will take place.
In the Gospel today, (Mt 11: 25-30) Jesus encourages us: “Come to me…” and so we do. In the Gospel today, Jesus says: “learn from me…” and so we beg from the Master Teacher such instruction. Jesus even tells us what He longs to teach… “meekness and humility.” The method and manner of His instruction is His yoke and burden, which is none other than the cross, where his life was given out of love of humanity in obedience to the will of the Father. Jesus’ classroom of love and His chair of instruction is none other than the cross, where His side was pierced to reveal the infinite love of His Divine Heart.
It is to this flame of love that we draw near today, (Come to me…) that our selfishness may be consumed. It is the instruction of our Master we strain to hear (learn from me…) so that our love may be sincere, that we may be children of God, that we may know God, that we might have life through Jesus Christ, that the love of God might be brought to perfection within us. (1 John 4:7-16)
On this Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I am making a clear and urgent call to all: be renewed in Christ! Come to Christ!, and for some, perhaps many, this is a clear invitation to return to Christ and his Church! Learn from Christ! May the love of Christ compel us that our church may be renewed. We have many challenges ahead of us as Church, but with Christ, all things are possible. In Christ, all things are made new, and for Christ, we will make a gift of each of our lives for the love of God, for the love of His Church, for the love of the world and God’s people.
May Mary, the Mother of God intercede for us in our renewed commitment to Christ and His Church! May the months and years ahead be filled with much grace and many blessings. Please God, may it be so.
Tomorrow, we celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This year, this feast also marks the end of the Year For Priests. I ask you on this Feast to make an effort to find some time to visit your local church and spend some time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. As you do so, please remember and pray for the many priests who celebrate the Holy Mass each day to bring this precious gift of Jesus, the gift of his Love present in the Eucharist to each of us.
In this diocese, our priests are finishing their annual retreat, so there may not be Mass in many of our parishes today, though I know some of our priests are intending to return to their parishes to be able to celebrate this Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus with their parisihioners.
The Eucharist is our greatest gift! Our priests who celebrate the Mass and consecrate the Eucharist are a big part of this gift. We are tremendously grateful for all our priests and their selfless ministry!
I might ask that you also pray for all our bishops, as we will gather in St. Petersburg next week for the annual June assembly. May all of us continue to grow in the unique vocations God calls us to, and the common vocation of holiness. God bless.