Friday, July 1, 2011

The Sacred Heart of Jesus

By Christian tradition, June is the month that the Church dedicates to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, even if due to Easter's late occurrence this year, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart falls at the beginning of July. Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has specified that his general prayer intention for the month of June to be "that priests, united to the Heart of Christ, may always be true witnesses of the caring and merciful love of God". Certainly, priests are called to such union with the Heart of Christ so that they might serve as leaders and models for all Christian believers to do the same, those who share in the common priesthood of the Faithful as emphasized in the teachings of the Second Vatican Council (cf. Lumen Gentium 10).

In my homily today I reflected on how dads and moms will lift up their children to see whatever is occurring beyond the sea of adult legs. We place our little children on our shoulders so that they can have a better view. It seems that Jesus does that as well. His loving heart raises us up above hatred, anger, animosity, jealousy, pride, and all of our other favorite sins. By isn't that what he teaches us to do as well? Like Jesus, through the strength and courage of hi loving heart we follow his example and raise one another up.

Some of the more 'humorous' scripture passages are where we find the apostles becoming indignant with one another. Very much like us today we want to be liked the best. And we especially want Jesus to like us the best. Sometimes to get there we knock one another over. Maybe not literally, but you know what I mean. Jesus speaks to us about the Kingdom. Our own lives, and the life of the Church, somehow offers a vision of the Kingdom of God. Our ministry is about lifting each other up, as Christ Jesus raises us up.

When I was here before as a 'puppy priest,' we had a young man who lived down the street, who was developmentally disabled. He spent a lot of time around the church. The pastor would mention occasionally, perhaps when I may have been firmer than I should have been, that he needs love like everyone else. There is a real truth and a real challenge there. We are to be Christ to all God's people, and perhaps even moreso the ones who might be harder to love.

The heart of Jesus is our source of mercy and love. We pray that the power of this heart may give us the courage and direction to meet all of the challenges of life, and raise us up out of our lowliness.

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