10th Sunday in Ordinary Time


Dear Friends,

We are in the month of June dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a devotion that began in the 12th century, and gained popularity after Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in the 1670s.  This month is an opportunity for us to deepen our devotion to Jesus Christ and reflect on His teachings through prayer, reflection, and acts of charity. One popular devotional practice is the daily recitation of the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This litany is a prayer of intercession that asks for the mercy, love, and protection of Jesus. Here at St. Matthias, we pray this Litany every First Friday of the month, during the Holy Hour after our 8 am Mass.

We all are familiar with the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Have you wondered why it has flames, thorns, a cross, and open wounds?

Flames: In the Gospel, Jesus says that He has come to set fire on the earth—the fire that He longs to set is the fire of divine love, the fire of the Holy Spirit, in each human heart. In Jesus’ first apparition to St. Margaret Mary, after revealing His Heart to her, he said to her, “My divine Heart is so passionately fond of the human race, and of you in particular, that it cannot keep back the pent-up flames of its burning charity any longer. They must burst out through you.”

Rays of Light: The Sacred Heart of Jesus is surrounded by rays of light, as if rays of light are emanating from it. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says He is the light of the world. Jesus brings the light of God’s love into the darkness of our sin and suffering, our fear and doubt.

Crown of Thorns: In one of His revelations to St. Margaret Mary, Jesus told her that the crown of thorns symbolizes our individual sins, which prick His heart.

The Cross: In the image of the Sacred Heart, the Cross stands atop the Sacred Heart, as if to say that the Heart of Jesus is what supports the Cross and what supports us when we have to bear a cross. It is the Divine Love that transforms the Cross into the most powerful act of redemption.

The Open Wound: After Jesus died on the cross, a soldier pierced His Heart with a lance and blood and water flow out—the mercy of God floods the world. The open wound in the image of the Sacred Heart shows us that the Heart of Jesus is always open to us, His mercy is always available to us, and He never closes His Heart to us.

Such insights from these symbols make us realize the infinite love of Jesus for us. Pope Francis has said that it is easier for us to believe in our own love for God than it is for us to believe in God’s love for us. In this month, the Church invites us to contemplate the Sacred Heart of Jesus and let ourselves be convinced of God’s passionate love for us. One prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus we all can pray is: “Oh Heart of Jesus, burning with love for us, inflame our hearts with love for You.” More and more people are attending our First Friday devotion to the Sacred Heart on every month. If you have not experienced it, why not try it once?

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal