Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Homily, June 27, 2014
St. Augustine’s famous saying summarizes the natural longing of the human heart: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” Jesus, true God and true man, who loves us with a human heart, knows very well the desires of our hearts. He is not indifferent to what we need, to what we seek, and to what burdens us.
That is why, on this Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, our Lord invites us: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
Notice how Jesus assures us twice that in Him we will find rest: “I will give you rest…and you will find rest for yourselves.” But in order to find the rest that our heart longs for, our Lord invites to do three things. Three steps to find rest in the Sacred Heart of Jesus: “come to me”, “take my yoke” and “learn from me”.
“Come to me”: This is an invitation to establish an intimate friendship with Him and to consider Him the center of our thoughts, words and actions. Why does Jesus invite us to come to Him? Because oftentimes we come to the wrong persons and things whenever we have problems and troubles in life. When overburdened by life’s struggles, to whom do you go? To alcohol? To Facebook? To your barkadas who give you bad influence?
Why not come and spend some time in front of the Blessed Sacrament? Pour out your troubles to Jesus in prayer. Tell Him your concerns. St. Peter, in his First Letter, assures us: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Pe 5: 7). I tell you out of my experience: it works!
But in order to do this, you have to believe first that Jesus is present in the Blessed Sacrament. Whenever I see people entering the Blessed Sacrament chapel and fixing their eyes on Jesus who is really present in the form of bread on the monstrance, I am amazed at the greatness of their faith. We need to have that child-like faith and trust that Jesus remains with us in the form of bread. Only then can we really come to Him and find our rest.
“Take my yoke”: Oftentimes, what hinders people from coming to Jesus is the thought that when they do, Jesus would give them burdens and yoke that they cannot carry. Some people are afraid to follow Jesus because they think He is very demanding. They think: “If I decide to follow Jesus, I’ll have to give up this vice or that bad habit. I’ll have to give up ASB (alak, sugal, babae).” And they could not bear the thought that they’ll have to give up passing pleasures if they decide to take the yoke of Jesus.
Some young people, for instance, who may have heard the call of Jesus to priesthood or religious life, are afraid to “take the yoke” because they think if they do, they would be deprived of many enjoyable and pleasurable things. Well, they are wrong! St. John Paul II, in 2003 in Madrid, told us, young seminarians by then, “that it is worthwhile dedicating oneself to the cause of Christ and, out of love for him, devoting oneself to serving humanity. It is worthwhile to give one’s life for the Gospel and for one’s brothers and sisters!” There is joy in following Jesus. His yoke is easy and His burden is light because they are the ones that truly give us joy and peace: the rest for our soul.
Lastly, “learn from me”: Now, here’s the true meaning of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: to be a devotee to the Most Sacred of Jesus means “to learn from Jesus”, that is, to transform our hearts into the heart of our Lord. This is why he said: “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart”.
To be transformed into the heart of Jesus is to strive to think, to speak and to behave like Jesus, to love what Jesus loves, to desire what He desires. In a word, it means to be Christ-like. In the words of St. Josemaría Escrivá, Founder of Opus Dei, a way of sanctification through our ordinary works: “We all have to be ipse Christus — Christ himself. This is what Saint Paul commands in the name of God: Induimini Dominum Iesum Christum — put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Each one of us — you! — has to see how he puts on that clothing of which the Apostle speaks. Each one personally, has to sustain an uninterrupted dialogue with the Lord.” To learn from Jesus means to put on the Lord Jesus Christ!
My brothers and sisters, on this Solemn Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, may we truly find rest to our souls by coming closer to Christ, by accepting the yoke of Jesus and following it in our lives and by becoming alter Christus (other Christ) or ipse Christus (Christ Himself) to our brothers and sisters. Let us ask the Blessed Virgin to assist us in these struggles. Amen.