Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the symbol of the fidelity of the love of God. This ancient symbol reminds us that God loves us unconditionally with a love we cannot earn or ever be worthy of. He loves us as we are right now, at this moment, not as we should be, or possibly could be, but as we are with all of the physical warts, psychological quirks and spiritual infidelities.
If such a love seems almost too difficult to believe, perhaps even too shocking to believe, then we must reflect on the tender passage of Ezekiel in today’s readings. The Word of God tells how the Sacred Heart of Jesus loves us and remains faithful to us:
Thus says the Lord GOD:
I myself will look after and tend my sheep.
As a shepherd tends his flock
when he finds himself among his scattered sheep,
so will I tend my sheep.
I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered
when it was cloudy and dark.
I myself will pasture my sheep;
I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD.
The lost I will seek out,
the strayed I will bring back,
the injured I will bind up,
the sick I will heal… Ez 34:11-16
Jesus is our shepherd, who rescues us when all seems cloudy and dark, when we have strayed. This is the unconditional, unqualified, unreserved, unrestricted, unlimited, no strings attached love that the Sacred Heart of Jesus has for you, for me.
Deacon Manuel Valencia is on the staff at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.