Luke 7: 11ff
The month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The image of Christ showing forth his heart, a heart consumed with warm, but a tender and wounded heart, is to remind us, that God is not distant. In fact, God is not afraid to be wounded by us - allows himself to be, and his suffering is offered for our healing and salvation.
Jesus, through his heart, shows us that God is near – that he cares, most notably when we are injured, alone, or feel abandoned. He does not approach us like a superman to fix us, but as a shepherd who patiently searches for his lost sheep. He shows himself as a true Good Samaritan, not a do-good charity worker, but as a genuine friend who authentically cares and is not afraid to be moved by deep compassion for those abandoned and who will take time, even waste time and spend his own resources to carefully and gently bathe the wounds of the injured.
Because of his heart, we must not simply see him, on the surface, as a flat picture or concert statue. He opens himself up for us to enter into the depths of his heart.
For example, enter into the Gospel passage for today's Mass again. Read it, and meditate with fresh eyes. Use the sacred text as a door to enter into a place where you can actually meet Jesus.
What do you see? As he is entering the city of Nain, a funeral procession is coming out. It for a young man, the only son of a widow. How did he die? An accident? Was it a violent death, or a peaceful death, from sickness, was their much pain involved, maybe the young man died in his sleep? I don’t know. Do you know? So, ask the one who was actually there there. Ask our Lord.
But there is someone else there – a woman. There is intense, heartfelt sorrow, painful suffering from a mother who has lost her child. Her husband has died, and now her young son – her only son. She is alone – terribly alone.Even although there is an intense crowd around her, she is alone even in the constant activity of so many people that fill up every space.
Perhaps, if we were able to enter into the mind of Jesus, instead of a flash back, maybe there is a hint of something in the future - a premonition. Maybe as Christ came across this funeral of the young man and the young man’s mother following the behind the casket– maybe our blessed Lord was beginning to think about what his own mother would feel in her heart when he, her only Son would die and his own lifeless body, taken down from the cross was being carried to its grave.Our Lord is being sired with strong emotions at the very core of his being.
Maybe our mind might wander back to an incident in Christ’s life, thirty years earlier when Mary brought her little baby, Jesus, to the temple of Jerusalem for the first time, to present the child to the Lord as was expected according to Jewish custom. How the old prophet Simeon, took the precious child in his arms, and looking into the eyes of Mary, told her that, this child, her only son, would break her heart. And in doing so open up the hearts of many.
Maybe these are the thoughts, the feelings, the passions aroused in Christ’s heart. In this passage from Holy Scripture, His heart is revealed to us, along with the heart of a mother.
We draw close to Christ. We allow him to also look into our hearts, hearts that are often hard and dead. He looks into our hearts. And what does he say to you and me? He say’s “Arise! - do not be dead, do not let your sins destroy you, do not let the sins of the world bury you." And with the grace that radiates from his sacred heart, he lifts us back up to back to life. But notice what he does next when he restores the young man to life. He gives him back to his mother.
With the deepest love from the heart of Christ, while stretched out on the cross, in his eyes of compassion and mercy, he sees you and me, his disciple, standing at the cross, our own cross. And to us, be says, "Behold your mother!" Our mother Mary's heart is open too for us. Allow her to kiss the scathed knee, the tender bruise. But allow her to also share her own joy with you - the joy of the triumph of the heart of her Son who is always compassionate and merciful.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.