The Sacred Heart of Jesus,
Lithograph published by Thomas B. Nounal & Co,
Boston,
Published circa 1875,
Lithograph on paper
© Christian Art

The Sacred Heart of Jesus,
Lithograph published by Thomas B. Nounal & Co,
Boston,
Published circa 1875,
Lithograph on paper
© Christian Art

Gospel of 11 June 2021

Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

John 19:31-37

It was Preparation Day, and to prevent the bodies remaining on the cross during the sabbath – since that sabbath was a day of special solemnity – the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away. Consequently the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with him and then of the other. When they came to Jesus, they found he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water. This is the evidence of one who saw it – trustworthy evidence, and he knows he speaks the truth – and he gives it so that you may believe as well. Because all this happened to fulfil the words of scripture:

Not one bone of his will be broken; and again, in another place scripture says: They will look on the one whom they have pierced.

Reflection on the Lithograph

Christ is at the very centre of our faith. And at the very centre of Him, there is His Heart. So everything comes back to Jesus' Heart.  In His Sacred Heart we see the divine love and the human love. In 2013, Pope Francis, said on this solemnity that 'it is more difficult to let God love us than to love Him! The best way to love Him in return is to open our hearts and let Him love us.' So our hearts and Christ's Heart need to be intertwined and constantly communicating. He gave us His Heart first, so we can give ours to Him too.

Our lithograph from circa 1875 is showing Jesus giving us His Heart. Of all the Sacred Heart devotional images, I like the ones where Jesus is shown in this pose, handing His Heart to us with one hand and with the other hand showing His wound. The Heart is pierced and mounted with a crown of thorns. His Heart is on fire. His Heart is alight. His Heart shines for us, with Him looking straight at us. The inscription at the bottom of the print reads, 'I will bless every dwelling place in which an image of My Heart will be exposed and honoured.' That is the power that these domestic devotional images hold: they remind us constantly in our houses about the sacrifice Jesus offered for us… every day. 

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