Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, provincial superior of the US Province, was the homilist at today’s Mass for the feast of the Sacred Heart. People from around the country joined us at Sacred Heart Monastery for the liturgy, as well as other activities. Fr. Ed’s homily follows:
“Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Officially part of the liturgical/Church calendar since 1856, though with much earlier roots, it is one of the greatest devotions of the Church. The Sacred Heart stands as a powerful symbol of the whole human body of Jesus Christ. The heart is at its core, representing the very real life of Jesus our Savior; a heart which was formed in Mary’s womb; a heart which beat as he preached the Good News and healed the sick; a heart that stopped on the cross and was then pierced by the soldiers’ lance. It is also the heart that beat once more at the Resurrection and continues to do so for us today.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is therefore a powerful reminder of the love of Christ poured out for us all. It is at once a representation of His divine love and His human love. In the Sacred Heart we see the love of God which created the heavens and the earth; a love which created humankind and then redeemed us when we fell. The Sacred Heart is also one of fully human love; one which expressed itself in the love of Jesus for His Mother; the love of Jesus for His disciples, and the love which He showed for all He preached to and cared for. It was a love that was able to forgive those who nailed Him to a cross.
If we sometimes feel disconnected from this overwhelming, and incomprehensible, divine love which created us and sustains us, then the Sacred Heart serves to remind us of all the human heart is capable of. It was this human heart of Christ which loved to its fullest extent and which rebukes us for our lack of love toward God and neighbor. It is a heart which can teach us that, through grace, we too are capable of loving God, ourselves and others to a degree which we may have thought impossible. As we read in the letter to the Romans; “the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
We often reject this love of God and have done so throughout our human history. But the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus does not cease upon rejection; it loves all the more. When the soldier pierced Christ’s side, His heart did not close but instead opened, and out flowed the blood and water of our redemption. It is the great mystery of this total love of Christ for us, and the invitation to share in it and love in return, which marks devotion to the Sacred Heart. We are called to love as totally and recklessly as Him who gave His life for us.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the symbol of the fidelity of the love of God. It reminds us that God loves us unconditionally with a love we cannot earn or ever be worthy of. And he loves us for ourselves, not as we should be, or possibly could be, but as we are with all of our physical warts, psychological quirks and spiritual infidelities.
Pope Francis, in his homily on the Feast a few years ago, said: “The HEART OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD (THE SACRED HEART) IS NOT ONLY THE HEART THAT SHOWS US MERCY, BUT IS ITSELF MERCY. There the Father’s love shines forth; there I know I am welcomed and understood as I am; there, with all my sins and limitations, I know the certainty that I am chosen and loved. Contemplating that heart, I renew my first love: the memory of that time when the Lord touched my soul and called me to follow him, the memory of the joy of having cast the nets of our life upon the sea of his word (cf. Lk 5:5).”
Fr. Leo John Dehon, Founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart said: “The Heart of Jesus is overflowing with tenderness and compassion for all those who suffer, those who endure hardships, those who go hungry, and for the sick and the infirm. His is the Heart of a Father, the Heart of a Mother, the Heart of a Shepherd. His is a priestly Heart which suffers with us when we are suffering.”
From the very beginning of the Congregation the Priests of the Sacred Heart accepted calls to serve the Church throughout the world, wherever the love of Jesus is most needed. Your fellowship and support help us spread devotion to His Sacred Heart and offer comfort to the poor and needy who rely on our charity and ministries.With your dedication, we are able to bring hope to people in the most challenging areas of the world. Missionary activities that your gift provides include:
- Humanitarian aid
- Spiritual and medical care
- Public health
- Housing and infrastructure
- And the Formation of priests.
As Provincial Superior of the United States Province, I offer my humble thanks and gratitude for your generosity and the generosity of all our donors. May the Sacred Heart of Jesus bless you a hundred fold. Let us love one another as Heart of Jesus has loved us.
Happy Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus!