The Sacred Heart of Christ is not a ‘holy card’ for the devout, but is “the heart of revelation, the heart of our faith, because He made Himself small,” choosing this way “of humbling Himself, of emptying Himself even to death on the Cross.”
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis stressed this during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, as the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Drawing inspiration from today’s first Reading, from the book of Deuteronomy, where Moses says that God has chosen us “from all the nations on the face of the earth to be a people peculiarly His own.”
For this, God is praised, Pope Francis explained. because “in the Heart of Jesus, He gave us the grace to celebrate with joy the great mystery of our salvation, of His love for us,” that is to say, in celebrating our faith.
The Holy Father dwelled on two words in the reading: “choosing,” and “smallness.”
On choosing, the Holy Father said, it is not that we have chosen God, but rather, that God has made Himself “our prisoner.”
“He has attached Himself to our life; He cannot detach Himself. He is strongly yoked! And He remains faithful in this attitude. We were chosen for love and this is our identity.”
“‘I have chosen this religion, I have chosen…’ [we might say]. No,” Francis stressed, “you have not chosen. It is He Who has chosen you, has called you, and has joined Himself to you. And this is our faith. If we do not believe this, we don’t understand the message of Christ, we don’t understand the Gospel.”
Turning to ‘smallness,’ the Jesuit Pope recalled that the Lord, Moses did say, chose the people of Israel because it was “the smallest of all nations.”
“He was enamored of our smallness, and for this reason He has chosen us. And He chooses the small: not the great, the small. And He is revealed to the small: ‘you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones.’
“And He not only chooses and reveals Himself to the little ones; He calls the little ones: ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest.’”
“But the great, does He not call them?” Francis asked.
“His heart is open, but the great do not recognize His voice because they are not able to hear it because they are full of themselves. To hear the voice of the Lord, you must make yourself little.”
The mystery of the Heart of Christ
Coming to the mystery of the Heart of Christ, the Pope said, it is not a “holy card” for the devout.
Rather, the transfixed Heart of Christ is “the heart of revelation, the heart of our faith, because He made Himself small, He has chosen this way”: that of humbling Himself, of emptying Himself “even to death on the Cross.”
It is, the Pope said, “a choice for smallness, so that the glory of God might be manifest.”
Today’s celebration, he reminded, is “of a Heart that loves, that chooses, that is faithful,” and that “is joined to us, is revealed to the little ones, calls the little ones, makes itself little.”
“We believe in God, yes; yes in Jesus too, yes… ‘Is Jesus God?’ [someone asks.] ‘Yes,’ [we respond]. This is the manifestation, this is the glory of God. Fidelity in choosing, in joining Himself and making Himself little, even for Himself: to become small, to empty Himself.”
“The problem of the faith is the core of our life: we can be so much, so virtuous, but with little or no faith; we must start from here, from the mystery of Jesus Christ, Who has saved us with His faithfulness.”
Pope Francis concluded his homily with the prayer that the Lord might grant us the grace to celebrate “the great acts and works of salvation and redemption” in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.