REFLECTION FOR TODAY
June 11, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
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. Jn. 19:33-34
Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. What a beautiful image to remind us of the love Jesus has for us. On the spiritual level it was this heart that freely chose to die for us so that we can be reconcile to the Father. On the physical level, it was this Heart that was wounded by a lance as reflected in our gospel reference of today.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is so powerful and yet we forget so easily that divine love still flows from this Heart. No matter who we are today, we all have demands that can seem overwhelming at times. When we allow these demands to take the center stage in our lives, we can lose sight of the fact that Jesus is with us ready to pour his love, lift our burden and give us hope and joy.
As Jesus was pierced with a lance, blood and water flowed forth. This has a profound spiritual symbolism. The blood and water that poured forth was the new sacramental life of the Church. The Blood was the Most Holy Eucharist, and the Water was the gift of Baptism. And when Jesus had previously “breathed His last” and “handed over His Spirit,” the Sacrament of Confirmation was bestowed.
When we celebrate those Sacraments today, it is easy to see them as mere symbols of what we partake in. But in our Christian Tradition, the Sacraments are so much more. The symbol is also the reality. It is the instrument of what it symbolizes. Therefore, every time we witness a Baptism or partake in the Holy Eucharist, we are mystically present with Longinus, receiving the grace and mercy of our redemption, pouring forth from Jesus’ wounded side, to heal us and make us whole.
The human heart is, physically speaking, a bodily organ responsible for pumping blood throughout. But from a spiritual perspective, given that we are both body and soul, the human heart is also the source of our life. Without it, we physically and spiritually die. So, it is with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was not only a physical heart that was physically pierced by the lance long ago. It is now also the source of our ongoing spiritual life, and, without Jesus’ Sacred Heart of Mercy, we will die in our sins.
Reflect, today, upon the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. See His Heart as the ongoing source of your new life in grace. Understand that His Heart is more than a symbol of His grace and mercy, it is the spiritual source and the font of that mercy. Prayerfully place yourself before His Cross, this day, and allow the blood and water, flowing from His wounded side, to cover you so that you, too, may believe.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, You poured out upon the world the love and mercy of Your transforming grace through the instrument of the blood and water pouring forth from Your wounded side. Help me to gaze upon this font of mercy and to be covered with it through the gift of the Sacraments. May I always be open to all that You wish to bestow upon me by these precious and transforming instruments of Your love. Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us. Jesus, I trust in You.