Friday, 27 June 2014 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, World Day of Prayer for the Sanctity of Priestly Life (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast that is truly important for us, that is the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, celebrating the very love that God has for us, and which He had shown to us through Jesus Christ, His life and ministry, and ultimately the death He faced on the cross, all the pure and concrete show of His love for us.

Today we also celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctity of Priestly Life, that is we pray for the priests and all those who had dedicated themselves to the Lord, to keep themselves holy and faithful, that they will keep themselves, in their thoughts, in their actions and in their deeds, to be always holy and representative of the Lord, and bring glory to Him through their actions.

God had chosen them out of His people to serve them, and to be His consecrated ones, to live life in holiness, and to help spread the love He had shown to the world through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the actual and concrete manifestation of God’s love to us, the love made flesh, and the Word of God made flesh. Through Jesus God wants to tell us that He loves us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God loves us so much, and I keep on telling this to all of you repeatedly, because many of us fail to realise this, and we fail to realise how every single breath we take, and this life, are all because of His love for us. If not for His love and mercy, we would all have perished and be destroyed because of our sins and iniquities.

Instead, God who hates sin and rebellion against His will, is willing to look beyond our sinfulness and desires to welcome us back into His presence, after we have repented and changed our ways, that we leave behind our sinfulness and wicked lives, changing them for a new life in God. And He gave us the ultimate gift of His love, a concrete and real gift in Jesus, the proof of the ultimate love of God for us.

Brethren, the love of God has descended from the Lord and to us, through Jesus, whose heart is always filled with love and concern for each and every one of us. The devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is a relatively recent occurrence, having been institutionalised only a few hundred years ago. However, this was born from the desire of mankind to recognise that love which God has for each and every one of us.

The Lord does not seek our destruction or for us to perish because of our sins, unless if we ourselves refuse to be saved. As we had heard in the Gospel today, through Jesus our Lord, God wants us to come to Him and be saved. He offers freely His love for us, and He stretches His hands wide to welcome us back into His loving embrace and protection.

He will bring us enlightenment and rejuvenation if we change our ways to trust Him and repent from our past, sinful lives. But sadly, the reality is that many of us do not realise this love that God has for us, flowing freely and generously from His most loving and merciful heart. We either fear God because we fear the punishments and consequences of our sins and faults thus we fear to approach the Lord, or we are simply too engrossed in our worldly lives for us to notice this love, ending up in our ignorance of God’s love.

This devotion to the Sacred Heart and this celebration we have today is meant to remind us of God’s great love for us, which is evident and enshrined in His own Most Sacred Heart. Yes, brethren, a heart that is full of love for us, full of mercy for our plight, and full of compassion for our difficulties in this world. This is the essence of the celebration we have today, a celebration of God’s love and mercy through His Most Sacred Heart.

This love is now given to us through the extensions of His love, that is through His disciples and holy Apostles, and from them through our priests, bishops and all those who gave themselves to the service of God and His people. Our priests and all those devoted to a life of service to God through holy ordination had been entrusted with power, love and authority to be Alter Christus, or in simple terms, to be the Christ personified and living in the person of the priests.

As such, it is imperative and necessary that our priests to have that sanctity and holiness, that they may truly represent Christ in our world today. Let us all pray therefore, that our priests will be and will remain holy and thoroughly dedicated in their service to God and mankind. We pray that through the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus our Lord, they too may love tenderly and give of their love to those who are in great need for love.

Let us help one another, particularly our priests and religious, that our lives will be better aligned with the will of God, and that we will grow stronger in love and faith. God be with us all, and may the love of His Sacred Heart be with us and enter our heart, that we too may love one another and Him, just as He had loved us first. God be with us all. Amen.

Friday, 27 June 2014 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, World Day of Prayer for the Sanctity of Priestly Life (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 11 : 25-30

On that occasion Jesus said, “Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I praise You, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to simple people. Yes, Father, this is what pleased You.”

“Everything has been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son, and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”

“Come to Me, all you who work hard and who carry heavy burdens, and I will refresh you. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart and you will find rest. For My yoke is good, and My burden is light.”

Friday, 27 June 2014 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, World Day of Prayer for the Sanctity of Priestly Life (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 John 4 : 7-16

My dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Those who do not love have not known God, for God is Love.

How did the love of God appear among us? God sent His only Son into this world that we might have life through Him. This is love; not that we loved God but that He first loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Dear friends, if such has been the love of God, we, too, must love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us, and His love comes to its perfection in us.

How may we know that we live in God and He in us? Because God has given us His Spirit. We ourselves have seen and declare that the Father sent His Son to save the world. Those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in them and they in God.

We have known the love of God and have believed in it. God is Love. The one who lives in love, lives in God and God in him.

Friday, 27 June 2014 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, World Day of Prayer for the Sanctity of Priestly Life (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 102 : 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8 and 10

Bless the Lord, my soul; all my being, bless His holy Name! Bless the Lord, my soul, and do not forget all His kindness.

He forgives all your sins and heals all your sickness; He redeems your life from destruction and crowns you with love and compassion.

The Lord restores justice and secures the right of the oppressed. He has made known His ways to Moses and His deeds to the people of Israel.

The Lord is gracious and merciful, abounding in love and slow to anger. He does not treat us according to our sins, nor does He punish us as we deserve.

Friday, 27 June 2014 : Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, World Day of Prayer for the Sanctity of Priestly Life (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Deuteronomy 7 : 6-11

You are a people consecrated to YHVH, your God, YHVH has chosen you from among all the peoples on the face of the earth, that you may be His own people. YHVH has bound Himself to you and has chosen you, not because you are the most numerous among all the peoples, and on the contrary, you are the least.

Rather, He has chosen you because of His love for you and to fulfill the oath He made to your fathers. Therefore, with a firm hand YHVH brought you out from slavery in Egypt, from the power of Pharaoh.

So know that YHVH, your God, is the true and faithful God. He keeps His covenant, and His love reaches to the thousandth generation for those who love Him and fulfill His commandments, but He punishes in their own persons those who hate Him and He repays them without delay.

So keep the commandments, the norms and the laws that today I command you to practice.