Memory of Jesus crucified

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Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Western and Eastern Churches remember the birth of John the Baptist, "the greatest among those born among women" who prepared the way to the Lord.


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

Luke 15,3-7

So he told them this parable: 'Which one of you with a hundred sheep, if he lost one, would fail to leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the missing one till he found it? And when he found it, would he not joyfully take it on his shoulders and then, when he got home, call together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, "Rejoice with me, I have found my sheep that was lost." In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner repenting than over ninety-nine upright people who have no need of repentance.

 

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 and the liturgy helps us to contemplate the mystery of God's love through the symbology of the heart of his Son who reveals himself to us as the good shepherd of his flock. The image of the shepherd is an image dear to the prophets and Ezekiel had already spoken of it: "For thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out... I will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel" (Ez 34:11.13). The Gospel of Luke, as if to give an answer to the words of the prophet, reports the words of Jesus who identifies himself with the good shepherd who loves his sheep so much that he gives his own life for them. As the Gospel of John says, Jesus loves them and knows them one by one (Jn 10:3). To him they are not an indistinct mass; in fact, he knows the voice, the name, the history, the needs of each of them, and on each he has placed all his affection and all his hope. He is not an official or a hired-hand; he is rather a father, a brother, a true friend, and a servant of his sheep. In a society like ours that has become virtual, anonymous and individualistic, it is easy to be forgotten and to disappear. But the heart of Jesus does not forget anyone. Jesus reminds that the good shepherd leaves the ninety-nine sheep in the sheepfold to come and look for the lost one. "I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed," said the prophet Ezekiel (Ez 34:16). Jesus - the good shepherd - does not abandon any of his sheep to their own destiny; Jesus always gathers them, keeps them and, perhaps not once but many times, had to leave the other ninety-nine sheep to find each one of us and put us on his shoulders and bring us home where he tells us again his commandment: "That you love one another as I have loved you" (Jn 15:12).