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  • Writer's pictureImmersed in Christ

The Heart of It All

by Fr. David M. Knight


June 7, 2024: Friday of the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

Solemnity of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Lectionary 171

Hos 11:1, 3-4, 8c-9/Eph 3:8-12, 14-19/Jn 19:31-37  

 

Devotion to Christ's Heart is "Christian spirituality in a nutshell" (Pope Pius XII). This devotion can be summed up in three words: adoration, reparation, consecration – with Christ's flesh – and – blood, divine humanity as the focus of them all.

 

When Jesus teaches, we must be undivided in our loyalty to him, and have no other god, no other focus of our hearts except him, this is the core of adoration, of devotion to the Sacred Heart and of Christianity itself: to love God with our whole hearts.

 

Many people refuse to love, or to express love, because love makes us vulnerable to the pain of rejection. By offering himself visibly to us in his humanity, and by speaking explicit words of teaching and invitation, God made himself vulnerable to explicit, visible rejection. The love of God made visible in Jesus as it never was before also made sin visible in the world as never before. This calls for visible "reparation," for visible expression of our love for God in response to the visible reality of sin.

 

Reparation and forgiveness go together. The reparation which Jesus made on the cross was by its very nature also an act of forgiveness. We cannot make reparation for sin while rejecting those who reject God – or us. The Our Father reminds us we cannot even ask for forgiveness without forgiving – or asking for the grace to forgive. We call confession "the Sacrament of Reconciliation," because in this act we are reconciled both with God and with other people. We are forgiven and we forgive. "Communal Reconciliation" services bring this out: They are a united, visible profession that we all renounce the sins which divide us from God and from one another.

 

The message of the Gospel is that "in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us" (see 2 Corinthians 5:19). To do what Jesus died for is to make reparation for sin. It is also to bring about healing. The real wounds of the world, or of any human heart, are not the lesions of the flesh that cause loss of blood and bring about the disintegration of the body. They are the hurtful acts which cause loss of trust and bring about division between individuals and nations, the disintegration of society. And modern prophets from three different religions­ Ghandi, Martin Luther King and Thomas Merton – are united in proclaiming that only forgiveness, given prior to justice, can heal this disintegration.

 

Paul preached that the purpose of Jesus ' coming was "to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth" under his reign (Ephesians 1:10). The word community means "common unity." Whenever we celebrate together – "communally" – our common unity of faith, hope and love, our common unity in the act of adoring, making reparation, expressing forgiveness, and accepting forgiveness, we are expressing our "common unity" of consecration to the goal of Christ's coming.

 

Consecration means "dedication," being given and set aside for something or someone in particular. To "consecrate" ourselves to the heart of Christ is to recognize the desire of his heart and dedicate ourselves to fulfilling it. And the desire of his heart is to bring everything and everybody on earth together in love in the unity of his Body, his Church, his shared life. We can see and hear and feel this desire in the Gospel scene when Jesus glanced around the circle of those seated around him and said, "These are my mother and brothers! Whoever does the will of God is brother and sister and mother to me." When we can say the same, we will know we have accepted our baptismal consecration to bringing about the desire of his heart: the unity of the human race in the life and family of God. To do this is to share Christ's mission and his heart.


Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry




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