Happy Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus! Today's readings present devotion to the Sacred Heart in three simple steps.
1. In our first reading (Deuteronomy 7: 6-11) Moses tells the Israelites that they "are a people sacred to the Lord." The "Lord set his heart" on them and "chose" them. This is all because "the Lord loved" them and "because of his fidelity." In other words: God is devoted to his people, to us.
2. St. John declares in the second reading (1 John 4: 7-16) that "God is love." He explains: "In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins." This being the case, John continues, "if God so loved us, we also must love one another." Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is not our devotion but God's. It is God's devotion to us revealed in the Pierced Heart of his Son. Our devotion is a response to God's devotion. Our devotion is expressed in loving all those for whom the Heart of Jesus was pierced, i.e. all humanity.
3. We learn to do this by responding to Jesus' invitation in the Gospel (Matthew 11: 25-30):
"Come to me... and learn from me." We come to Jesus in the Eucharist where we enter into his Heart through the Liturgy of the Word, listening to Jesus speaking to us and taking on his thoughts and feelings. Then, in Holy Communion, Jesus gives himself to us. He gives his Heart to us because he is fully present in the Eucharist. With this Heart now transforming us through Word and Sacrament, we can respond as we ought to respond to the great love of God revealed in the Heart of his Son, Jesus.