Hosea 11:1-9, Psalm: Isaiah 12:2-6, Ephesians 3:8-19, John 19:31-37
The Heart is an ancient concept in the Bible. It occurs over one thousand times in the Bible, making it the most common anthropological term in the Bible. It denotes a person’s center for physical, emotional, and moral activities. Basically, the heart connotes love or affection. Thus, the basic attitude of Jesus’ heart is one of unconditional love, not hatred. The sacred heart of Jesus is the symbol of the infinite love of Jesus Christ which prompts us to make a return of love. Love is mutual; therefore it should be reciprocated.
The first reading expresses the just and merciful heart of God. In the reading, God spoke to Ephraim and Israel saying “…My heart is turned within Me; My compassion is stirred!” (Hos.11:8). ‘God’s heart turned or his compassion stirred’ means that Divine compassion pleads with Divine justice. God’s mercy is pathetically described as contending with his justice, to show that he does not willingly destroy as in the case of Admah, Zeboyim, Sodom and Gomorrah. Rather, ‘His heart is turned’ shows the severity Israel deserved and the mercy they enjoyed. Thus, God is compassionate. By divine justice we deserve death; but his mercy endures forever. This character of God is manifested in Jesus’ merciful, compassion, and sacred heart.
Beloved, what kind of heart do we have? With so much hatred in the world today, man is best discribed as heartless. Heartless men are men with wicked hearts, men who have dedicated their hearts to occult covenants and devilish temples; their hearts are far from God and they have no space for mercy, justice, affection and love. We must learn from Jesus; He says; “learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt.11:29). Jesus can renew our hearts and make it capable of loving God and our neighbours. The Bible says in Ezekiel 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” As we celebrate this solemnity we pray for a new heart, a new spirit and a heart of flesh. Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto thine!
LET US PRAY
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that we, who glory in the Heart of your beloved Son and recall the wonders of his love for us, may be made worthy to receive an overflowing measure of grace from that fount of heavenly gifts. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, to Thee I consecrate and offer up my person and my life, my actions, trials, and sufferings, that my entire being may henceforth only be employed in loving, honoring and glorifying Thee. This is my irrevocable will, to belong entirely to Thee, and to do all for Thy love, renouncing with my whole heart all that can displease Thee. I take Thee, O Sacred Heart, for the sole object of my love, the protection of my life, the pledge of my salvation, the remedy of my frailty and inconstancy, the reparation for all the defects of my life, and my secure refuge at the hour of my death. Be Thou, O Most Merciful Heart, my justification before God Thy Father, and screen me from His anger which I have so justly merited. I fear all from my own weakness and malice, but placing my entire confidence in Thee, O Heart of Love, I hope all from Thine infinite Goodness. Annihilate in me all that can displease or resist Thee. Imprint Thy pure love so deeply in my heart that I may never forget Thee or be separated from Thee. I beseech Thee, through Thine infinite Goodness, grant that my name be engraved upon Thy Heart, for in this I place all my happiness and all my glory, to live and to die as one of Thy devoted servants.