Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

“I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment” (Jesus to St. Margaret Mary).

Sixteenth century Calvinism and seventeenth century Jansenism preached a distorted Christianity that substituted for God’s love and sacrifice of His Son for all men the fearful idea that a whole section of humanity was inexorably damned.

The Church always countered this view with the infinite love of our Savior who died on the cross for all men. The institution of the feast of the Sacred Heart was soon to contribute to the creation among the faithful of a powerful current of devotion which since then has grown steadily stronger. The first Office and Mass of the Sacred Heart were composed by St. John Eudes, but the institution of the feast was a result of the appearances of our Lord to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1675. The celebration of the feast was extended to the general calendar of the Church by Pius IX in 1856.

At today’s Mass we will read the following Scriptures:

Reading 1

Ez 34:11-16 

Thus says the Lord GOD:

I myself will look after and tend my sheep.

As a shepherd tends his flock

when he finds himself among his scattered sheep,

so will I tend my sheep.

I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered

when it was cloudy and dark.

I will lead them out from among the peoples

and gather them from the foreign lands;

I will bring them back to their own country

and pasture them upon the mountains of Israel

in the land’s ravines and all its inhabited places.

In good pastures will I pasture them,

and on the mountain heights of Israel

shall be their grazing ground.

There they shall lie down on good grazing ground,

and in rich pastures shall they be pastured

on the mountains of Israel.

I myself will pasture my sheep;

I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD.

The lost I will seek out,

the strayed I will bring back,

the injured I will bind up,

the sick I will heal,

but the sleek and the strong I will destroy,

shepherding them rightly.

Responsorial Psalm

R.     (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

In verdant pastures he gives me repose;

beside restful waters he leads me;

he refreshes my soul.

R.     The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

He guides me in right paths

for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk in the dark valley

I fear no evil; for you are at my side

with your rod and your staff

that give me courage.

R.     The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

You spread the table before me

in the sight of my foes;

you anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

R.     The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Only goodness and kindness follow me

all the days of my life;

and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD

for years to come.

R.     The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Reading 2

Brothers and sisters:

The love of God has been poured out into our hearts

through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

For Christ, while we were still helpless,

died at the appointed time for the ungodly.

Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person,

though perhaps for a good person

one might even find courage to die.

But God proves his love for us

in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

How much more then, since we are
now justified by his blood,

will we be saved through him from the wrath.

Indeed, if, while we were enemies,

we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son,

how much more, once reconciled,

will we be saved by his life.

Not only that,

but we also boast of God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Gospel

Jesus addressed this parable to the Pharisees and scribes:

“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them

would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert

and go after the lost one until he finds it?

And when he does find it,

he sets it on his shoulders with great joy

and, upon his arrival home,

he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,

‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’

I tell you, in just the same way

there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents

than over ninety-nine righteous people

who have no need of repentance.”

Go to Mass if you can.

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