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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (B)
1st Reading (Hos 11:1b.3-4.8c-9): Thus says the Lord: When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms; I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks; yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer. My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred. I will not give vent to my blazing anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again; for I am God and not a man, the Holy One present among you; I will not let the flames consume you.
Responsorial Psalm: Is 12
R/. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my savior. With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation.

Give thanks to the Lord, acclaim his name; among the nations make known his deeds, proclaim how exalted is his name.

Sing praise to the Lord for his glorious achievement; let this be known throughout all the earth. Shout with exultation, o city of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel!
2nd Reading (Eph 3:8-12.14-19): Brothers and sisters: To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things, so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the principalities and authorities in the heavens. This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness of speech and confidence of access through faith in him.

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Versicle before the Gospel (Mt 11:29): Alleluia. Take my yoke upon you, says the Lord; and learn from me, for I am meek and gentle of heart. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Jn 19:31-37): Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.

But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may come to believe. For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled: “Not a bone of it will be broken.” And again another passage says: “They will look upon him whom they have pierced.”

“One soldier thrust his lance into his side”

Fr. Raimondo M. SORGIA Mannai OP (San Domenico di Fiesole, Florencia, Italy)

Today we are offered before our bodily eyes—better yet, before our “inner eyes,” illuminated by faith—the figure of Christ who, having just died on the Cross, had his side opened by a spear thrust by the centurion. "Immediately blood and water flowed out" (Jn 19:34). A distressing and, at the same time, most eloquent sight! There is not the slightest room to support the thesis of someone who affirms an apparent death: Jesus is certainly 100% dead. What's more, that mysterious "water," which would not come out of a healthy, normal body, tells us according to modern medicine that Christ must have died from a heart attack or, as our ancestors said, from a burst heart. Only in this case is the separation of serum from red blood cells verified. This would explain that anomalous “blood and water.”

Christ, therefore, has truly died, and he has died because of our sins, because of his most vivid and main desire: to be able to cancel our sins. "I am the one who destroyed death and carried off man to the heights of heaven" (Melito of Sardis). God, who has kept the promise of raising his Son from the dead, will also keep the second promise: he will also raise us up and lift us up to his own right hand. But he sets a minimum condition: believe in Him and allow ourselves to be saved by Him. God does not impose his love on anyone to the detriment of human freedom.

Finally, regarding that Man who has suffered the spear in his heart, "They will look upon him whom they have pierced" (Jn 19:37), Revelation also confirms: "Behold, he is coming amid the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him" (Rev 1:7). This is a sacred demand of divine justice: in the end, even those who have stubbornly rejected him, will have to recognize him. Even the self-idolizing tyrant, the ruthless murderer, the arrogant atheist..., all without exception will be constrained to kneel before Him, recognizing Him as the one true God. Isn't it better, then, to be friends with him from now on?

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “From this divine heart three streams flow endlessly. The first is the stream of mercy for sinners. The second is the stream of charity. From the third stream flow love and light for the benefit of his friends.” (Saint Margaret Alacoque)

  • “Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us: the bridge that connects God and man.” (Francis)

  • “The prayer of the Church venerates and honors the Heart of Jesus just as it invokes his most holy name. It adores the incarnate Word and his Heart which, out of love for men, he allowed to be pierced by our sins (…)” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nº 2669)