The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
1 John 4:7-16
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I put my trust in Thee.
In a wonderful book entitled, Broken Covenant, author Robert Bellah parallels the pilgrims’ crossing of the Atlantic Ocean with Israel’s crossing the Red Sea. America, like Canaan, was not uninhabited when our ancestors first arrived on these shores. Like the Canaanites (Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, et al.), native American Indians were rich in their myths and elaborate rituals. Bellah further draws the parallel of ancient Israel and America by saying that both "imperialists" felt that they were God’s "Chosen People," but America will never really be healed until it is acknowledged that our nation was formed on the brutal annihilation of two other cultures, the Native American and the African American.
These are harsh words, but are not our readings for this Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus also exacting?
It was not because you are the largest of all nations
that the Lord set his heart on you and chose you,
for you are really the smallest of all nations. (Deut.7)
…although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to little ones. (Matt. 11)
Today’s feast is about God’s love for all people. Maybe to grow in holiness means I am less self-centered and more God-centered. Do you remember geography class when you were a child? The world map depicted the United States in the center of the page, and the former Soviet Union split on the edges! Or the bumper stickers we continue to display: God Bless America! "Me first" is low-level religion, and today’s adult believer is edging toward a more collaborative tenor of networking with others.
Pope Francis repeatedly reminds us of God’s preferential option for the poor – for the little ones – as Jesus says. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I put my trust in Thee.
Fr. Jack Conley, C.P. is the director of the Office of Mission Effectiveness. He is a member of the Passionist formation community at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.