Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

The Catholic Church only celebrates two human organs in the liturgy.  We could try to think about what other organs could have been celebrated: “blessed are the feet of those who spread the Gospel,” we could celebrate the Holy Feet of the Apostles.  In the Book of Numbers, it says that Moses, “spoke with God face to face, and that he beheld the likeness of God” so we could celebrate the Luminous Eyes of Moses.  We talked about anger and its effects yesterday.  Apparently the ancients believed that excessive anger would cause your liver to produce too much bile.  So, since St. Francis of Assisi was so peaceful, we could celebrate the Immaculate Liver of St. Francis.  What organ would you say the world values most today?  I would say that most people value the brain above all.  We don’t celebrate the sacred brain of Jesus though – even though His brain most certainly is Sacred.

Loving is more important than thinking.  The best people are the ones who think in order to love better.  If Jesus was really smart but didn’t love us very much, we would be in big trouble.  We celebrate the Sacred Heart of Jesus because it exposes how God’s wisdom pursues our real human hearts in the most authentic way possible.  Last night, you were asked to think about what love is.  There are things that seem like love, but are not really: lust is not really love, flattery is not really love, being polite is not enough, being nice is not enough, enjoying someone is not really love.  Last night, one of you answered that love is affection, another brainy answer was that love is wanting the best good for someone.  There is another kind of love that no one mentioned: friendship.  Friendship is a very special kind of connection that only human beings can have.  Cats can’t really be friends, angels can’t really be friends: St. Gabriel and St. Michael have charity, but they aren’t friends because they are too different from each other.  There are three kinds of love in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and He loves us and our Heavenly Father continuously with His human heart in those three ways.  He loves us with Divinely human affection, He loves us with divine benevolence: which means He wants the best good for us and also actually knows what that is, but He also loves us as a real friend.  In John’s Gospel chapter 15, Jesus says, “I no longer call you slaves, I call you my friends, because I have told you everything I heard from my Father.”  I think that’s really wonderful because we’ve been talking about freedom this week.  Friendship with Jesus makes us free.  When we obey God because He’s our Master but we don’t understand what He’s doing, we live like slaves: we can still be happy because God is a really good Master – the best, but we’re not free because we don’t understand why we suffer, or why bad things happen, etc.  We are truly free when we live out our friendship with Jesus: if we love others enough to suffer for them, we are Jesus’ friends.  If we listen to Jesus as a friend, in faith we will understand the meaning of difficulties and suffering we have to go through.  That makes us truly free.

I’d like to finish by mentioning St. Margaret Mary because she had a special experience of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  She lived in the 1600s in France  and was a religious sister.  Jesus used to appear to her – which is very unusual.  He told her that her heart was too small for all the love He wanted to receive from her, and all the love He wanted her to show to others.  The next part is extraordinary: Jesus filled the role of a surgeon and performed a heart transplant on St. Margaret Mary, “taking from her body her stony heart, and giving her a heart of flesh” Jesus gave her His own heart to love with.  After she died, St. Margaret Mary’s body never decomposed – including the new heart that Jesus gave her.  You can go and visit Paray-le-monial where her body can still be seen (I’ve been and see myself), and the heart that Jesus himself gave her.  Jesus still wants to give us His heart to replace our small and weak hearts.  He will do it for us spiritually if we ask Him.  It won’t happen for us like it did to St. Margaret Mary (probably), but it can still happen in a very real yet invisible way.

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