The first Sunday of June this year is the Feast of Corpus Christi, the celebration of the great gift of the
Body and Blood of Christ. The gift of the Eucharist, of course, was made possible by the Son of God
becoming incarnate, taking on a body. Jesus took on a human body in order to sacrifice himself on the
cross and free us from our sins. This was the will of God the Father because of his great love and mercy
for us. What a wondrous gift! This sacrificial gift is given us under the form of bread and wine each time
we celebrate the mass and receive Holy Communion. We then participate in the love and mercy of God
when we receive the Body and Blood of Christ.

This love and mercy of God is also celebrated and honored in the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus,
the Feast of which we celebrate on Friday, June 7, this year. In the image used for the devotion, Jesus is
pointing to his heart, ringed with thorns, aflame with love and crowned by the cross. Jesus is burning
with love for us so intense that he went through his passion and death so we might be able to live with
him eternally in his love and mercy. What a wondrous gift! Jesus is able to point to his heart because,
like with the Eucharist, he has taken on a human body, the center of which is precisely the heart.
Our heart is what allows us to live, to use our bodies, to think, to feel, to do any and everything because
it pumps our life-giving blood throughout our body. Without the heart, all of the parts of our body
would not be able to function. An expression such as, “the heart of the matter”, indicates such a reality.
Jesus is the “heart of the matter” when it comes to true life and he invites us to come into his Sacred
Heart and live in his love and mercy. This we can do in a very real way each time we receive the Body
and Blood of Jesus.

St. Joseph Marello always connected the Eucharist and the Devotion to the Sacred Heart in such a light.
From the very beginning, the Feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated at our Mother House in Asti,
Italy, in part with a Eucharistic Procession. This tradition is carried on in many houses of the
Congregation still today. In this way, we are called to see in the Sacred Heart of Jesus an invitation to
enter into his very life by receiving his true body and blood in the Eucharist. Jesus points to his heart, I
believe, not so much to show how much he loves us (though that is certainly true) but to invite us to
come and dwell in his heart, in his love and mercy. Am I open to accept this invitation, this call?

Accepting this invitation, this call, also means accepting the crown of thorns and the cross and allowing
myself to be set afire by Jesus great love. I am to sacrifice myself as he sacrificed himself. Each time I
receive Jesus’ body and blood, I am nourished and strengthened so that I can make such a sacrifice,
most especially in loving those around me with the same mercy and love Jesus shows me. A very tall
order! Yet, if I hope to live eternally with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, then an order I must fulfill.

May we always receive the wondrous gift of the Eucharist under the image of the wondrous gift of the
Sacred Heart, so that we might make a wondrous gift of our lives to God and to our sisters and brothers.
This we are all called to do by our baptism and then by our particular vocation in marriage, priesthood,
diaconate, the consecrated life and the single life. Which is my way of sacrificial love, of living in the
Sacred Heart of Jesus?

Fr. Brian, OSJ