Today’s feast of the Sacred Heart represents the fruit of a theological inquiry that seeks to understand who Jesus is by meditating on his humanity, particularly as summed up by his human heart, the seat of the emotions, the fount of love, courage and compassion.
Instead of leaving us with a completely transcendent, impassible God, the Sacred Heart reveals a God truly with us: it shows us God who so loved the world, that he sent his only-begotten Son to share our humanity in the fullest way possible. He lived a fully human life from its beginning to its natural end. He certainly knew its joys and delights, but also fully tasted its pain and suffering. The Sacred Heart reveals to us that our God is not just merciful but compassionate, that literally He suffered with us.
This recalls Saint Paul: “For our sake made him to be sin who knew no sin.” It is not too far-fetched so say that when Christ was “made to be sin who knew no sin,” He chose to endure all the violence and degradation that we are able inflict on one another. He chose to take a full share of our sinfulness. By its nature, sin is damaging. It damages the human race by weakening the bond of communion that exists among all human beings, and it damages the individual: the wounds it inflicts leave scars that render its victims less able to love others, and less willing to risk receiving the offer of love from others. Jesus, when he chose to be made sin, willingly accepted the worst we have to offer. He suffered, rejection, persecution, mockery, torture, degradation, and an agonizing, lonely death.
The Sacred Heart reveals to us a God whose compassion comes from a love that takes the form of a radical and faithful solidarity. He is with us always, to the end and beyond. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the revelation of God who is Love. Jesus’ disciples encountered God’s love in his Sacred Heart and that encounter transformed their hearts and also those of all people, so that today our hearts have become the place where we are able to encounter God, the place where God speaks to us, comforts us, consoles us, and shows us the way forward. The Sacred Heart shows us not only that we are all living temples of God’s Love, but also that everyone deserves to be treated as such.
The Sacred Heart by Odilon Redon. Excerpts from Father William's homily.