Gospel Reflections

Feast of the Sacred Heart

Luke 15:3-7

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Rebecca Spires

Published: June 28, 2019

Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine. 

How often we have prayed this, how often desired this. Today is the feast of this heart and the liturgy invites us to contemplate the infinite love this heart represents.  Love is indeed meek, humble, caring, protective, supportive, and so much more.  As you contemplate His love today, continue the list of qualities you find there.  Perhaps the most striking quality is forgiveness, for true love forgives, pardons, loves even when the beloved is wrong, even when doing evil.
In today’s Gospel such love is represented by a shepherd who seeks out the lost sheep to restore him to the fold and complete the harmony. It is a beautiful image, God caring, protecting, carrying on his shoulders, keeping the flock together, excluding no one, forgetting no one. In the first reading God affirms: “I will take care of my sheep.” (Ez 34:12)   The scene, the images of heart and shepherd are all tenderness, so comforting and reassuring. With Him we know we are safe.

But that’s not all. Remember that all of humanity, good and bad, belongs to his flock. His pardon and seeking out are for everyone. That includes the dictators, corrupt, murderers, those who have most hurt us and done evil to those we love and serve and to our dear Mother Nature. The Shepherd loves them all, forgives all and wants to bring them home to the Father. Therefore, even as we combat the evil in the world and thus are in opposition to many, struggling to bring them to justice, even as we do all of this, we forgive and we pray that they return to the Father. The Father is always looking for their return. The Good Shepherd is always ready to carry them home. May each one of God’s children, sheep return to Him.  May the Sacred Heart of Jesus form and transform our hearts.

“Not only do you carry on your shoulders
the lost sheep,
But also the wolf
Stained with the blood of the lamb.”
“We ask you in the Our Father: ‘Forgive us as we forgive’
Today we ask even more: teach us to forgive others,
And our own selves
As you forgive us.”
            (excerpts from Unconditional Pardon by Benjamin Gonzalez Buelta)  

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