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June 28: Sacred Heart of Jesus


Jesus’ love for us never ends: He never ceases to love us.

Mention Bugs Bunny and people smile. Mention Charles Jones and people frown. But Bugs Bunny owes his fame to Jones, the Hollywood cartoonist who developed the character of Bugs Bunny. Jones’s favorite cartoon character, however, was Pepe LePew, the romantic skunk that appeared in the Looney Tune cartoons. Pepe was forever falling in love with someone. His love was always rejected, however, because of the way Pepe smelled. But that didn’t stop the indomitable Pepe. He kept right on loving. He just refused to give up on people. Although Jones never intended it, Pepe makes a beautiful image of Jesus.

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I would like to continue with another story that sounds rather crass or crude. But I will tell it nonetheless and I hope you will just bear with it, although you might have heard it before. One day the different parts of the body were having an argument to see which is the most important.

"I should be the most important," said the brain, "Because I run all the body's systems, so without me nothing would happen."

"I should be the most important," said the blood, "Because I circulate oxygen all over so without me you'd waste away."

"I should be the most important," said the stomach, "Because I process food and give all of you energy."

"I should be the most important," said the legs, "because I carry the body wherever it needs to go."

"I should be the most important," said the eyes, "Because I allow the body to see where it goes."

"I should be the most important," said the rectum, but before he could continue, all the other body parts laughed at the rectum and insulted him, so in a huff, he shut down tight.

Within a few days, the brain had a terrible headache, the stomach was bloated, the legs got wobbly, the eyes got watery, and the blood became toxic. They all had to give in to the rectum and let it be the most important.

As much as it sounds rather crude to talk about such things, yet there is a point to it.

Some parts of our body we give them honour and take care about how they appear, like our hair, our face, etc.

But some parts of our body we cover it because of decency. And because they are covered up, we may not pay that much attention to them.

But they are no less important than those other parts that are exposed.

Earlier you heard a rather crude story. Now let us look at something rather gruesome.

In the gospel, we heard about three bodies hanging on crosses.
Because of the religious festival, the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away.

So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified and then of the other.

And when they came to Jesus, they found He was already dead. And here is where a soldier did something rather gruesome. The soldier used a lance and pierced His side.

It seems that the dead body of Jesus was subjected to further abuse and the soldiers want His innards to hang out, just to be sure He is dead. That’s really gruesome.

But just as God has the power to change tragedy into victory, what was gruesome became something awesome. The soldier pierced His side with a lance and immediately there came out blood and water.

What was pierced and exposed is none other than the heart of Jesus.

And what was exposed is not just an organ, but the very core of Jesus, the very core of His divinity and humanity.

And out of that core, out of the heart of Jesus, flowed forgiveness and healing as symbolized by the water, and also mercy and love as symbolized by the blood.

It is out of this gruesome exposition of the heart of Jesus that evokes in us our reaction and response.

In one the apparitions to St. Margaret Mary, Jesus reported said to her : "Behold the Heart that has so loved men ... instead of gratitude, I receive from the greater part of mankind only ingratitude ...".

During the triduum in preparation of the celebration of the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, we came as a community in prayer and devotion to the Sacred Heart and we offered our petitions in the coloured envelopes together with our wounded and weary and wandering hearts.

From a certain perspective, our petition envelopes are like lances that pierce the Heart of Jesus and He offers us His healing and forgiveness, His love and mercy.

But we may become like spiritual consumers – we put in our petition and we expect a response from God.

Pope Pius XI stated that "the spirit of expiation or reparation has always had the first and foremost place in the worship given to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus".

Reparation is the action of making amends for a wrong one has done. Practically it means going for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and frequent reception of Holy Communion, especially Communion on the First Friday of the month, and the observance of the Holy Hour.

True devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus means that we acknowledge that we had not loved Jesus as much as He had loved us, and that we have ignored His love and mercy, even though His wounded exposed Heart is offering us healing and forgiveness.

We, the priests of the parish, will pray for the petitions offered up to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

May love and mercy, healing and forgiveness flow from the wounded and Sacred Heart of Jesus to those who offered up these petitions so that they will love Him more and more.

And as we look deep into the Heart of Jesus and love Him in return, may we also remember that He commanded us to love one another as He has loved us.

To love others may at times be like letting them pierce our hearts with a lance and cause us pain.

But when our hearts are in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, then we will find consolation and be at peace.

And we will go on loving, just as Jesus has shown us in His Sacred Heart, that He will always be loving.