1 John 4:7-16
The readings today are all about love: The Love that God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) has for us. The love with which the Holy Spirit enables us to love one another. The love we have for one another and give to each other. Love is the theme – Divine love, for "God is Love." Divine human love – God’s love for us, our love for God, and our love for one another. For it is God loving in us when we truly love others. That is the theme of our readings today, the great mystery of God’s love.
Through Moses, the first reading points out that we are a people "sacred to the Lord, our God" – that "the Lord has set his heart on us." To "set one’s heart on someone": to fall in love with someone and determine to love that person; to seek someone out in love and love him or her. From the beginning God has actually set his heart on each of us. It makes you wonder, or as the old spiritual sings, "causes me to tremble, tremble."
St. John in the second reading amplifies this theme to over-flowing. In the ten verses of this passage the word love appears sixteen times. Each of those ten verses is packed with the meaning and power of love. "Let us love one another because love is of God." "Everyone who loves is begotten of God." "Everyone who loves knows God." "For God is Love." John emphasizes two truths of this great mystery; First, that God loves us, and loves us so much that He sends His Son to us and for us. Second, that since God loves us, in turn then we must love one another. We love God only by loving others.
The third reading is from the gospel of Matthew. We come upon Jesus as he bursts into praise to his great and loving Father. Then he turns to us with that truly wonderful invitation: "Come to me all you who labor and are burdened . . . . Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves." How can I resist this invitation? Jesus wants me to meet him, talk to him, share with him – heart to heart. He wants me to join with him, yoke myself to him, heart with heart and heart to heart – and to love all others then with his own human heart -a human heart overflowing with divine love.
Today is the "Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus," celebrating Jesus and his human heart, the living symbol of God’s love. May we find each other in the heart of Jesus, who "whilst on the tree," poured out blood and water for the whole world.
Peter Fitzpatrick, CFX, is a Xaverian Brother living at Ryken House, Louisville, across Bear Grass Creek from the Passionist Community Sacred Heart Monastery.