Today’s readings draw us into the infinite Divine Love that is symbolized by the Heart of Christ. Hosea describes the tender, fatherly love of God, raising His people to His cheek, and the infinite patience He shows by continuing to protect and nurture a people who reject His love. St. Paul expresses the confidence we have as beloved children of the Father, who are “rooted and grounded in love” and, because of the “the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge” can be “filled with all the fullness of God”! And the Gospel of John points to the final outpouring of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who held nothing back in his offering of loving obedience to the Father – in this complete Sacrifice for our salvation, the Pierced Heart of God pours out the very last drops of blood and water.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart goes back to the very beginning of the Church, and has been consistent throughout our history, as we find when we read Origen, St. Augustine, St. Bernard, St. Gertrude, St. Margaret Mary, and more! St. John Eudes wrote the first “Office” for the Sacred Heart in the 1600s, and by 1856, the Feast was obligatory for the whole Church. The date was carefully chosen: it is always celebrated on the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi (followed immediately by the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary the next day). We worship the Body of Christ, and then we focus on the love of His Heart.

This Heart is the Source of the springs of salvation, the locus and channel of all the infinite Love and Mercy of God for us. From the opened wound in the side of Christ, the Bride of Christ – the Church – is born, the Spirit is poured forth on the earth, the cleansing waters of Baptism and the sanctifying and nourishing Blood of the Eucharist are given to us.

Because Jesus and the Father are one in the Holy Spirit, their Love is one – the Love that existed within the Trinity before time began, that exploded at the time of Creation, that created all that is and each one of us, the Love that holds each of us in being in every moment, that became one of us to save us, that nourishes us in the Eucharist, the Love that calls us back to Itself and gives us everything we need and guides every one of our steps, the Love that shares Its own mission of salvation with us, and more – and that same Love pours out over each of us through the Sacred Heart of Jesus, right here, right now, in this moment.

Today, as we bow down in gratitude with the whole Church for all that this Pierced Heart embodies, let us humbly ask Him to fill our own small hearts with His Love, and for the grace to respond to His infinite love with sincere love in return.

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