Homily – Sacred Heart of Jesus

In Montreal is the motherhouse of the Grey Sisters of Canada.  Inside is one of the most beautiful chapels.   It is large enough to fit 300 or 400 sisters.  Unfortunately, they don’t have that many sisters and as a result the building was sold to Concordia University, but the chapel is still there.   On one side of the chapel there is a small altar dedicated to the sacred heart of Jesus.  Over the altar is written this phrase in Latin:

 

“Cor Iesu, flagrans amore nostri, inflamma cor nostrum amore tui.”

 

“Heart of Jesus burning with love for us, inflame our hearts with love for you”

 

“Corazon de Jesus, ardiente con amor para nosotros, encienda nuestros corazones con amor para ti.”

 

“Heart of Jesus burning with love for us, set our hearts on fire with love for you.”

 

In the image of the sacred heart we always see Jesus heart on fire, a heart that is burning with love.  This image of a heart on fire brings to mind three things.

 

First it brings to mind passion – when we think of a “burning love”  we think of a passionate love.  Often we think of passion as a bad thing – it connected with sin and fallen human nature.   It is a weakness, something that blinds us, makes us do crazy things we ought not to do.  We think of passion in religion as something that turns us into wierdos or fanatics.

 

But the message of the scripture is that God’s love is passionate – he is so crazy for his people that he keeps with them even though they don’t worship him or follow him, he does crazy things like leaving the flock to go looking for one sheep, He gives his life on the cross to save us.

 

The saints, people with true virtue, are not people who are dull without any desire or passion.  They are, like Jesus, people “on fire” – full of life, full of warmth, passionate to do good, who take pleasure in doing good.   Passion for what is good, true and beautiful is not a bad thing – it is a good thing.   More often our sins are from lack of passion – lack of drive to do what is right and good when it takes the least amount of effort or sacrifice.  We need to be passionate to do good.  We need to passionate to become holy.

 

The second image of fire is that it spreads.   We consecrate our parish to the sacred heart of Jesus to say that the passionate love of God may not remain confined to the tabernacle or to the Church or to our homes  – but that the love of the sacred heart of Jesus may spread to all areas of our lives and all areas of our parish – the weak, the lonely, the addicted, the poor, the widowed, the disabled, those who are fallen away and those who have never believed.  We pray today that all hearts be on fire just like the heart of Jesus is on fire.

 

And this leads us to the final image of fire – Fire signifies change – burning. In the scriptures, fire speaks of purification and transformation.   In order to spread the Love of Jesus we must first be purified.  Purified of indifference – the opposite of passionate love is not passionate hate, but indifference, not caring at all.  If Christians are indifferent to God – if we aren’t interested in praying or reading the scriptures, if we have no desire to talk about God or serve him we are not going to influence others to do the same.    If we are indifferent to others – if we ignore them, if we fail to show an interest in their lives, if we don’t show some warmth or kindness to them- the fire of Jesus cannot spread.  We become a firewall – a barrier to the love of God penetrating the hearts of others.

 

In this consecration, we pray that the love of the sacred heart will burn up all indifference in our hearts and in our parish.  That we may be inflamed with love for God – a real thirst to grow in prayer, knowledge of the scriptures, a true reverence towards his laws and commandments, that we take care to worship humbly and generously.  We also pray that we are purified of our indifference towards one another – we consecrate to Jesus today, the addicted, the poor, the widowed, the unbeliever.  We know that Jesus knows them, that he sees them that he cares about them – we ask that we may be co-workers of his mercy. That we may recognize thier needs, that we may feel genuine compassion for them and we may be filled with a real desire to help them a desire manifested in concrete actions.

 

“Cor Iesu, flagrans amore nostri, inflamma cor nostrum amore tui.”

 

“Heart of Jesus burning with love for us, inflame our hearts with love for you”

 

Purify our hearts of indifference.  May we love passionately as you love.  May this love spread to every corner of our parish.

 

“Corazon de Jesus, ardiente con amor para nosotros, encienda nuestros corazones con amor para ti.”