Sacred Heart of Jesus for a heartless world

The Lord Is My Chef Recipe for the Soul
Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, 28 June 2019
Ezekiel 34:11-16 >< }}}*> Romans 5:5-11 >< }}}*> Luke 15:3-7
Sacred Heart of Jesus at the Jesuits’ Sacred Heart Retreat House and Seminar Center in Novaliches, Quezon City. Photo by author July 2018.

At a glance, the powers of darkness seem to rule the world.

Pains and sufferings are all around us as we see them in the news and, worst, experience them right in our homes and community!

The other Sunday evening, one of our parish lectors was hit by two riders driving under the influence of alcohol that severely damaged her face, particularly her right eye and front teeth. She did not see the motorcycle coming because the drunk riders were going so fast opposite the one way street.

The two riders have no driver’s license and both claim to have no money to pay for the medical expenses of our parish volunteer who comes from a very poor family.

I told her story to our Sunday congregation. Right after the Mass, two ladies came to me, handing me Php 25,000.00 in cash, pledging with more money for the medical and dental bills of our lector. Tears were rolling in my eyes as I thanked the two kind ladies who refused any recognition at all.

Yes, too often we are shocked at the evil going on in the world.

But, more surprising is the fact that it is always God who has the last laugh and final say in all these pain and sufferings around us.

There is always the more powerful Sacred Heart of Jesus offsetting our seemingly heartless world today.

Jesus the Good Shepherd with a lost sheep on his shoulder. A wood carving atop the cathedra of the Minor Basilica Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Malolos City. Photo by Lorenzo Atienza, 12 June 2019.

Jesus addressed this parable to the Pharisees and scribes: “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy.”

Luke 15:3-5

I love that imagery of Jesus the Good Shepherd carrying on his shoulders the lost sheep. It is so powerful and evocative of God’s immense love for us sinners.

God fulfilled his promise to Ezekiel in the first reading that he would personally come to tend and look after us his sheep by sending us his Son Jesus Christ.

For his part, Jesus showed us in teaching this parable the solicitude of the Father in going beyond his words to the prophet of not just affectionately gathering and leading his sheep to green pastures but by communing with sinners of his time. What a wonderful way by Jesus showing us the pains God is willing to go to find one lost sheep.

From Google.

Jesus knows it so well how difficult and painful to get lost that he spent time with sinners, dining with them in many occasions. He knows the fearful thoughts running through us when we were wandering in darkness and sin that he never judges us nor condemns us like the woman caught committing adultery. Most of all, Jesus knows how difficult it would be for us who were lost to find our way back home, to go back to normal life of grace that he is willing to wait like with St. Paul and with St. Augustine.

Hence, when Jesus the Good shepherd finds the lost sheep, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy. Imagine also the spontaneous reflex to clutch to oneself whatever or whomever was lost and is found. That is how intense is the love of God through Jesus for every lost sheep when finally found. He is filled with joy that he carries the lost sheep on his shoulder to hurriedly bring it to safety and comfort, never to get lost again.

Moreover, here we find the great love of God for us who have gone stray in sin: he would patiently look for the lost sheep and likewise willing to patiently carry it on his shoulders so as not to make it suffer further in going back to the fold. Absolutely, no trace at all of any disgust in God in our going stray in sins!

From Google.

Eventually, Jesus proved this intense love of the Father to us in his dying on the Cross. He showed us how true love that comes from God and rooted in God is a love that is always meek and humble. A love that is unconditional, embracing both friends and foes. Yes, it is easier said than done but doable if we love in Christ Jesus.

From Google.

To love in Christ Jesus is to trust in God’s love. Without this trust in God’s love, we will always rely on our own self, prioritizing on our love of self than love of God and others. That is when darkness comes to rule over us, making us heartless too. Then, indeed, the world becomes evil because we have become its slave.

On this Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus when our nation is in so much darkness, Jesus is inviting us to make his love visible by trusting in his unfailing care as our Good Shepherd. When there is a major paradigm shift in the parable of Jesus wherein there are more lost sheep who are also self-righteous in knowing everything, calling those not on their side as stupid, we are more challenged today to witness Christ’s values of dignity of persons and peace. Let us pray for more patience with the appalling governance we now have courtesy of the majority of our people whom we have denied with God’s love and care for the longest time.

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