Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him.
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.)
These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be broken.” And again another passage of scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Today is the solemnity of the Sacred Heart, a celebration of divine love. Jesus’ love for humanity is boundless. Jesus’ crucifixion is not merely an ordinary death; his death is a sacrifice of love. Not only does his body overflow with blood and water; his heart also continually overflows with love for us.
Jesus’ heart yearns for us in love. On this feast day, we are encouraged to love Jesus in return: ardently, passionately, with all of our hearts. We can fearlessly enter into the depths of our own desire for God because Jesus longs for our love even more. In God’s heart, all our loves are united.
We might meditate on this image of the sacred heart as a heart that overflows with love for us. How can the reception of this love give us energy that flows into our own acts of love today?
—Marina McCoy is an associate professor of philosophy at Boston College.
Sacred heart of Jesus, help me to know and to experience the overflowing bounty of your love for us. Help me to know your intimate love for me, personally. Help me to uncover the depths of my own desire for you. Unite all the loves and relationships of my life so that they reside in your heart and conform to your will. Amen.