HOMILY THEME: Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: CHRIST’S OPEN SIDE!

BY: Fr. Ben Agbo


HOMILY: * Ezek 34: 11 – 16, Rom 5: 5 – 11, Lk 15: 3 – 7.

“The heart, not the head”, says Plummer “is the seat of the gospel”. What Pope Francis, in one of his exhortation letters ‘Gaudate et exsultate’ – a call to Holiness calls the 2 subtle enemies of holiness (Gnosticism and Pelagianism) are 2 heresies that stem from approaching holiness through the head alone. Gnosticism presumes that through certain understanding of ideas and doctrines you automatically attain holiness while Pelagianism presumes that the human will and personal effort is all that matters for holiness. But Pope Francis draws our attention back to Divine mercy and grace as the foundation of all human efforts in holiness. He sees the Church as a field hospital for the sick rather than a toll gate for travelers. I think this prefaces well my reflection on this year’s feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Holiness begins not from our search for God but from God’s search for us as evidenced in today’s gospel periscope about the parable of the lost sheep.

God’s love has been poured out over 2000 years ago from the wounded heart of Jesus from whence came water and blood, Jn 19: 34. By his wounds we are healed/ made whole / made holy, 1 Pet 2: 24. This wound in his heart was the wound of Divine love, 2 Cor 5: 14. The symbolism of blood, water and the Spirit became the 3 major signs of salvation; Blood symbolizes life and sacrifice which tantamount to Redemption; Water symbolizes life and purification which tantamount to Repentance; the Spirit symbolizes again life and sanctification which tantamount to Regeneration/ New life in Christ, 1 Jn 5: 5 – 8.

What Jesus essentially wants us to learn from his heart is gentleness and meekness, Matt 11: 29 – 30. The spirituality of reparation is advanced level spirituality – when a believer is wont on atoning for the conversion of others. To mourn for one’s sins and that of the whole world is prayer par excellence, Zech 12: 10 – 11. This is the spirituality of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Apostleship of Prayer) and the Divine Mercy group. Searching for sinners as Christ advocates in today’s gospel is advanced level spirituality ; knowing that there will be more rejoicing in heaven over them than over the rest of us who have been saved already by his grace, Lk 15 : 3 – 7. It is not difficult for the Church to degenerate into some kind of ‘excommunication machine’ whose preoccupation becomes the ‘anatemization’ of sinners. Those Churches/ parishes that behave as if they are already saturated and overpopulated with Saints should better watch it. May God bless you today!

  • Song : Soul of my Saviour sanctify my breast. Body of Christ be thou my saving guest. Blood of my Saviour bath me in thy side. Wash me with water flowing from thy side (Mmiri akuku Jesu gbube m dika mmanya ; Obara Onye nzoputa m zoputa m n’ime njo. Obi Jesu di aso, mee ka m di ndu di aso ; Aru Dinwenu anyi zoputa m n’ime njo).

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