Solemnity of Sacred Heart of Jesus

[Scripture Readings: Deut. 7: 6-11; 1Jn. 4: 7-16; Mt. 11: 25-30 ]

Because of the breakdown of Jewish religion in his day, the prophet Hosea lamented the absence of knowledge of God in the land. An exposure to the news media, the entertainment media and perhaps some of what is happening in our own surroundings may lead us to make the same lament. Sermons are being preached, books and articles are being written, proclamations from the magisterium are being made. Nevertheless the advance of secularism continues unabated and religion and religious values are pushed further and further out on the periphery of our national consciousness. Is there anything you and I can do about this other than join the choirs of blame and counter-blame? I don’t think that is an effective response. On the contrary, I think it only contributes to the worsening of the situation. I suggest that each of us seriously ask to what extent am I contributing to the lack of knowledge of God in our land and what am I willing to do to remedy the situation?

Today’s feast of the Sacred Heart points in a direction that all of us can take that will contribute to making God known in our immediate environments, and then eventually spread out to knowledge of God in the land. Homilies need to be preached, books and articles need to be written, pronouncements from the magisterium need to be made; but these are special vocations within the Church. Most of us are not gifted speakers, authors or in positions of authority in the Church. That does not mean that we are without a contribution to make. We are all members of the body of Christ and we all have a responsibility for making Christ present in our own life situations. In order that knowledge of God be effective, words and ideas need to be completed by living examples of what knowledge of God means for people on a day to day basis. All of us can make a contribution here.

However, in order to communicate knowledge of God to others we need to experience knowledge of God ourselves. We heard again this morning that God is love. Love is not something that God possesses; love is God’s very nature. If we are to have knowledge of God and not simply knowledge about God, we must share in God’s nature by putting God’s love into practice. We need to be God-like. God demonstrated his love for us by sending Jesus Christ into the world for the salvation of the world. We in turn can demonstrate God’s love by following the example and teachings of Christ. Because Jesus Christ has poured the Holy Spirit into our hearts, we are able to unite our hearts with the heart of Christ and love others as Christ loves us. United with Christ our love becomes the visibility of God in the world. In our imitation of Jesus Christ’s self-sacrificing and unrestricted love we have the privilege and the responsibility of making God known in the world.