Memory of Jesus crucified

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Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Feast of the apostle Barnabas, companion of Paul in Antioch and in his first apostolic journey.


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 19,31-37

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. Because all this happened to fulfil the words of scripture: Not one bone of his will be broken; and again, in another place scripture says: They will look to the one whom they have pierced.

 

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. Although it is a rather recent liturgical memory, it is rooted in the very heart of Christianity. The preface of the Liturgy, almost as if to show us its profound meaning, invites us to contemplate the mystery of Jesus' love: "Lifted on the cross, in his boundless love he gave his life for us, and from the wound of his side he poured out blood and water, the symbol of the sacraments of the Church, so that all people, drawn to the heart of the Saviour, might draw with joy from the perennial source of salvation." The Liturgy sings the "heart" of Jesus as the source of salvation. John writes: "One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out." This liturgical memory is an invitation made to all of us so that we turn our attention to the mystery of Jesus' heart that empties itself for our salvation. It is a heart of flesh, that has been moved, that has cried, that has softened, that has become passionate, never for itself but only for others. It has not made privileges for anyone, except for the poorest, the smallest, the weakest, and sinners. It is not a heart like ours that is often made of stone, insensitive even to so much love. It is from the compassion and emotion of that heart that Jesus' public life began. Matthew writes (9:36) that Jesus, going through the towns and villages of Galilee, was moved by the crowds that flocked to him because they were tired and exhausted like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to gather and heal them. With Jesus, the good shepherd, of whom the prophet Ezekiel spoke, had finally arrived: "I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered." The Gospel of John invites us to keep our eyes fixed on that crucifix, on that heart that has allowed itself to be pierced for us and to give back to men and women the strength to love.