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Sacred Heart, love language of God

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The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus-B, 07 June 2024
Hosea 11:1, 3-4, 8-9 ><}}}*> Ephesians 3:8-12, 14-19 ><}}}*> John 19:31-37

You must be wondering why this photo of a quote from Tom Hanks’ 1994 character Forrest Gump on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. What’s with shoes and the Sacred Heart of Jesus? Let me explain…

Last Tuesday while checking on my Facebook, I saw the post of a former seminarian who said, “Buying us shoes has been the love language of my parents to us… It will not change.” Posted below were photos of him buying two kids with new pairs of shoes.

How I admired him for being a father to those less fortunate kids! And that’s why I remembered Forrest Gump too who said how his mother used to tell him that shoes tell a lot about people, “Where they are going. Where they been.”

There’s something special with our feet, with the shoes we wear. Or do not wear. One is clear, though: our feet being at the lowest part of our body are most cared when we are growing up but later forgotten though overworked. That is why, it is so wonderful to go back to those days of childhood when our parents used to buy us with new pair of shoes, of how they would stoop down to help us fit the right ones for us. Just like God who is a Father to each one of us!

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.

Hosea 11:1, 3-4

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

That’s the tenderness of God, so Fatherly to us in taking care of us, teaching us to walk, taking us to his arms, lovingly raising us to his cheeks while we burst in laughter. Try reading that whole quotation to include the second verse skipped by our lectionary today, the more you can feel God’s tenderness. And our sinfulness.

Thus says the Lord: When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son.  The more I called them, the farther they went away from me.

Hosea 11:1-2

Is it not this is how our love relationship is with our parents and family including God?

When we were kids, we loved running to our parents, taking pride for being their son or daughter, always clinging to their big hands. Or, like couples at their early years in marriage who seem to be inseparable and always together. Then, as years passed by as we find new friends and new relationships, we drift apart from our parents or spouse, including God.  And worst, we drive them away, even feeling ashamed of them especially when they come near us with their gestures of love and concern. But, when problems arise like betrayal and infidelity, failures and losses, we return to our parents or to our original spouse or family, and most especially to God, rediscovering their genuine love that is so tender and very comforting again:  “I took you in my arms, drew you with human cords with bands of love. I fostered you like one who raises an infant to his cheeks; yet, though I stooped to feed you my child, you did not know I am your healer” (Hos.11:3-7).

From GettyImages.com.

That “stooping down” by God He had spoken to Hosea hundreds of years earlier took its deepest plunge when He sent us Jesus Christ His Son as our Savior by dying on the Cross. In fact, Jesus literally “stooped down” on the night He was betrayed when He washed the feet of His disciples to portray to them the depth of His love for us all.

From His birth to His passion and death, Jesus Christ, therefore, is the Father’s love language.

This was very evident on Good Friday as John narrated how the soldiers broke the legs of the other two thieves crucified with Jesus to hasten their death; but, when they saw Jesus “already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. 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” (Jn.19:33-34, 36-37).

Jesus Christ is the Father’s love language to us all because His death on the Cross is the most tender moment of love in history when our God who personally loves us by becoming like us in everything except sin loved us until the last drop of His blood because we are His beloved brothers and sisters in His loving and faithful Father in heaven we have always deserted in our many sins.

Photo by author, Baguio City, 2023.

Indeed, when blood and water flowed out from His pierced side on the Cross, the ocean of Divine Mercy flowed out for us, forgiving our most grievous sins, regardless of our many weaknesses.

In His Most Sacred heart, Jesus is inviting us to have tender moments with Him, to have the same “love language” of sacrifice and giving of self for others so that “He may dwell also in our hearts through faith so that once we are rooted and grounded in His love, we may have the strength to comprehend the breadth and length and height and depth of His love that surpasses knowledge and be filled with the fullness of God”(Eph.3:17-19).

Unlike us humans, God makes no mistakes in loving.  He remains faithful to us with His love, even “allowing” us often to sin and commit mistakes so that eventually, when we hit rock bottom, we rediscover Him and His love that is so real and so personal.

That is why we must heed St. Paul’s admonition in the second reading to be “rooted and grounded in His love” because human love is always imperfect.  Only God can love us perfectly in Christ Jesus who offered Himself on the Cross to fulfill what we have failed since the beginning – that is, to love God and others.

Photo by author, Sacred Heart Novitiate, Novaliches, QC, 20 March 2024.

Today we complete the series of three Solemnities in Ordinary Time right after the great season of Easter:  Trinity, Body and Blood of Christ, and now, the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.  All three Solemnities tell us how great is this God we believe in, someone so immense and powerful, yet so loving and so gentle; most of all, a God so personal that He is much like us but at the same time so different from us.

This Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an occasion for us to meditate deeply on how God touches us in the most intimate manner when He stooped down in Christ through the Cross to experience His love and mercy so that we could make others feel that too.

Like John who witnessed everything on the Cross, we need to see more with the eyes of faith the realities of God’s immense love for us who gave His Son Jesus as the new Lamb offered for our many sins and that is why, in accordance with the Jewish law and with the Old Testament, not one of His bones were broken on the Cross. May we learn to stoop down like God in Jesus by looking down to our feet by first examining our hearts as we pray, Jesus meek and humble heart make my heart like thine! Amen.  

Photo by author, Sacred Heart Novitiate, Novaliches, QC, 20 March 2024.
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