Memory of Jesus crucified

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Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 19,31-35

It was the Day of Preparation, and to avoid the bodies' remaining on the cross during the Sabbath -- since that Sabbath was a day of special solemnity -- the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away. Consequently the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with him and then of the other. When they came to Jesus, they saw he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water. This is the evidence of one who saw it -- true evidence, and he knows that what he says is true -- and he gives it so that you may believe as well.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Even though it is a rather recent liturgical memory, it has roots in the very heart of Christianity. As if trying to show us the deeper meaning of the Liturgy, the preface invites us to contemplate the mystery of Jesus' love: "For raised up high on the Cross, he gave himself up for us in his boundless and poured out blood and water from his pierced side, the wellspring of the Church's Sacraments, so that, won over to the open heart of the Saviour, all might draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation." The Liturgy sings of Jesus' heart as a spring of salvation. Yes, that heart of flesh held nothing back for itself; it gave itself entirely, to the last drop of blood, in order to pull us out of the slavery of the evil one. And love has continued to flow from that heart without interruption over the course of the centuries. This liturgical memory is an invitation to us all to pay attention to the mystery of that heart: a heart of flesh, not of stone, as ours often are. Jesus' public life started with the compassion and emotion of that heart. The passage from John's Gospel helps us understand the compassion of that heart, which let itself be pierced by our misery, our sin, and the loneliness in which we live. In a massified society like ours, where it is easy to be forgotten and vanish into anonymity, it is truly good news to know that each one of us is known by name by the Lord, that his heart beats for each one of us and we are never forgotten by him. It is a heart that empties itself to give all of its life for our salvation. This is the meaning of the "blood and water" of which the evangelist John writes. Jesus' love gives everything without holding anything back for itself. The liturgy shows us this love, a heart that continues to beat for us today, for each one of us and for the whole of humanity. The apostle Paul reminds us of this: "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us" (Rom 5:5).