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Friday, June 19, 2020

Reflection 2020-06-18 Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Deuteronomy 7:6-11; Psalm 103; 1 John 4:7-16; Matthew 11:25-30
We celebrate the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart today. It is a Solemnity so we are dispensed of our Friday discipline of abstinence. But why this feast? This feast reminds us of the love of God. The Second Reading tells us God’s love is revealed when he sent his only-begotten Son to the world so we might live through him. It is God’s will that we have eternal life. God is the God of the Life because he is the God of love. What is love? It is not a good feeling. It is not being nice, not offending people. The Second Reading tells us: In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved use and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. God, through Jesus, shows us what love is: to give of ourselves, to empty ourselves so others may live. We cannot have love without God, because God is love!
The First Reading shows us what love is. God did not choose Israel because of their greatness. God choose them because they were the least of all nations. They started with one person, Abraham. But God, in his wisdom, choose to reveal himself as the Lord [who] loved you and kept his oath that he swore to your fathers. That he brings them out with a mighty hand to redeem them from slavery. We said God is the God of life. We were created for life and we were created for love. This is why we were created for freedom, not freedom to do things, but freedom to love God, to worship and serve him. Why? Because this is the only way we can have fullness of life.
The Psalm today tells us God forgives all our sins, he heals all our diseases, he redeems us from death, he crowns us with steadfast love and mercy. This is why Jesus, in the Gospel today calls us Come to me. He invites us to draw near to him. Those who see themselves as sinners, those who are sick, those who find no meaning in life, those who are not loved, those who are oppressed, Jesus calls all of us to come to him!
He calls those who are weary and burdened. If we are tired of this life. If we are overwhelmed by the things around us. There is only one way: come to Jesus and he promises: and I will give you rest. Jesus wants to set us free from what burdens us because the burdens of life bring us down. Instead, he calls us to take up HIS yoke. While the yoke symbolizes slavery, the yoke of Jesus signifies rest. When we submit our lives to Jesus, then we will find rest because Jesus will be WITH us in our burdens, in our weariness, in our sins, in our sickness.
The translation of our reading says learn from me for I am gentle and humble of heart. The Douay-Rheims translation (which is the old English translation) has this as learn OF me for I am gentle and humble of heart. When we take up the yoke of Jesus, we learn about him, his gentleness and his humility. It is only by knowing Jesus that we can find rest. The communion antiphon reminds us of what Jesus said: let whoever is thirsty come to me and drink. Streams of living water will flow from within the one who believes in me.
Today’s feast is a call to come to Jesus so we can find rest. Are you wondering how God can forgive your sins? Are you sick and suffering? Are you bound by something that prevents you from having a full life? Are you looking for meaning in life? Are you seeking love? Are you oppressed and weary and burdened? Come to Jesus, submit your life to him, learn OF him and you will find rest.
Lord, I am deep in sin, I am sick, I am overwhelmed, I am weary of my life and suffering. You tell me to come. So here I am. You call me, not because of what I have accomplished. But because I am weak. I come to you and surrender my life to you. I take your yoke and reveal yourself to me, because you are all I seek. Give me rest Lord. Teach me to love you and serve you. Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on me.

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