CCC 210-211, 604: God’s mercy
CCC 430, 478, 545, 589, 1365, 1439, 1825, 1846: Christ’s love for all
CCC 2669: The Heart of Christ worthy of adoration
CCC 766, 1225: The Church born from the pierced side of Christ
CCC 1432, 2100: Christ’s love moves our hearts
“The Sacred Heart of Jesus”
from an ancient holy card,
artist and date unknown
Readings and Commentary:
Reading 1: Deuteronomy 7:6-11
Commentary on Dt 7:6-11
This passage is taken from Moses' second address to the people of Israel. He has just explained that the people of the lands which they occupy (Canaan in this case) must be held at arm’s length, and they must not intermingle their cultures or relationships. The selection presented is the rationale for that injunction. The members of God’s covenant are sacred to the Lord and the precepts of that covenant are not to be threatened by people not bound by it.
The intense love of God for his people is made clear in this reading with specific mention made to the Heart of God: “…the Lord set his heart on you and chose you.” This directly supports devotion to the Sacred Heart of God's Only Begotten Son especially: “It was because the Lord loved you.”
Psalm 103 is a song of praise to God for his mercy. It recognizes both God’s mercy and our need, as sinners, for it. It is a simple and beautiful reaction to God’s goodness. Remembering God’s promise of mercy for the innocent, these strophes praise God for his compassion and give thanks for his salvation.
CCC: Ps 103 304
Reading II: 1 John 4:7-16
Commentary on 1 Jn 4:7-16
Love, as we share in it, testifies to the nature of God and to his presence in our lives. A person who loves shows that they are a child of God and they know God, for God's very being is love. A person without love is without God. The revelation of the nature of God's love is found in the free gift of his Son to us, so that we may share life with God and be delivered from our sins. The love we have for one another must be of the same sort: authentic, merciful; this unique Christian love is our proof that we know God and can "see" the invisible God.
Gospel: Matthew 11:25-30
Commentary on Mt 11:25-30
Jesus has just completed a fairly scathing criticism of the people in the places he has been and performed miracles, yet many have not accepted him as the Messiah. He now concludes this section as he reflects that, while the Scribes and Pharisees (“the wise and learned”) have not understood who he is, those with simple faith have accepted him freely. He then issues an invitation to all who “labor and are burdened” quoting an invitation similar to one in the book of Sirach to learn wisdom and submit to her yoke (Sirach 51:23, 26).
“This Q saying, identical with Luke 10:21-22 except for minor variations, introduces a joyous note into this section, so dominated by the theme of unbelief. While the wise and the learned, the scribes and Pharisees, have rejected Jesus' preaching and the significance of his mighty deeds, the childlike have accepted them. Acceptance depends upon the Father's revelation, but this is granted to those who are open to receive it and refused to the arrogant. Jesus can speak of all mysteries because he is the Son and there is perfect reciprocity of knowledge between him and the Father; what has been handed over to him is revealed only to those whom he wishes.”
The final verses of this section are found only in St. Matthew’s Gospel and promise salvation to those who are downtrodden or in pain.
We begin our thoughts of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in an odd place, remembering our first days in college (in ancient times). Anxious to start on our curriculum of studies in biochemistry, we went to the advisor for the department, a brilliant young doctor of chemistry. He immediately reviewed the options for first year students and said, “You don’t need freshman biology, let’s sign you up for zoology, and you certainly don’t need plain geometry and trigonometry – you should take calculus, and by all means we should skip freshman inorganic chemistry and go straight to organic chemistry.” Not knowing any better we did as instructed and it almost killed us. Study should be fun, not terrifying.
What does this have to do with the intense love of God expressed by our devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus? In the Gospel reading today we are invited by the Lord to accept his yoke: “For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." He was contrasting his simple commandment to “Love one another as I have loved you” to the complex and difficult rules the Pharisees applied to authentic worship as defined by Mosaic Law.
Here is the ironic part; Jesus the Christ; the Only Son of God, is love personified. He comes, one might say, “hard wired” to react out of love of others in all situations; the pinnacle of heroic virtue. What he does instinctively requires of us who struggle valiantly to follow him tremendous discipline and faith. It is like the brilliant young advisor who looked at difficult courses and thought them too easy for his new charge.
Our comfort is this; that this day we contemplate not so much how we have failed in our attempt to be like Christ, but rather his unfathomable love for us. If we think about how intensely a mother loves her child, and then understand that the Lord loves us even more completely, we begin to get an understating of that blessing that engulfs us. So beyond our comprehension is this immeasurable gift that we look to the Saints to describe their God-given visions of the warmth that comes from that ultimate source.
Today we pray once more that the Lord will help us love as he does, without judgment, without reserve, in perfect acceptance of all we meet. We thank him for his example and ask for the strength to follow it, especially with those who most need to feel its warmth.
 Catechism links are taken from the Homiletic Directory, Published by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 29 June 2014
 The picture used today is “The Sacred Heart of Jesus” from an ancient holy card, artist and date unknown
 See NAB footnote on 1 John 4: 7-12
 See NAB footnote on Matthew 11:25ff