The Sacred Heart of Jesus

John 19: 31-37
Hos 11:1,3-4,8-9 / Isa 12 / Eph 3:8-12,14-19

They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.
(John 19:37)

O most Sacred Heart of Jesus,
From the evil one, redeem us;
Precious Blood shed for mankind’s sin,
Wash away our guilt, make us clean.

Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a solemn one), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness– his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth — that you also may believe. For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, “Not a bone of Him shall be broken.” And again another scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.” (John 19: 31-37)

Reflection

From the time of His birth in Bethlehem up to the last hours of His crucifixion in Calvary the life of our Lord Jesus was foretold by Scriptures. In fact the salvation plan of God for mankind, which was carried out by the Lamb of God, was prefigured in the Book of Exodus, during the Passover, when the Angel of Death passed over the houses of the Israelites which bore the blood of the paschal lamb on their doorways. Only the first-born of the Egyptians were struck down, and afterwards the entire Israelite nation was released from the bondage of Egypt.

Other passages in the Old Testament that attest to Jesus as God’s Sacrificial Lamb, whose leg bones were not broken (as the Romans did to the two thieves beside Him) are found in Psalm 34: 20: “He protects the bones of the righteous man, not one of them will be broken.” The instructions given to Moses in Exodus 12:46 also stated that the paschal lamb “must be eaten inside one house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones” (Ex 12:46).

John, the evangelist and most beloved apostle of Jesus witnessed the Sacrificial Lamb dying on the cross, at the same time that the Passover lamb was being slaughtered in Jewish homes for that evening’s Passover meal. When a Roman soldier pierced the side of Jesus with his lance to make sure that he was dead, and blood and water poured out, John must have recalled the words of Zechariah, who prophesied, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of compassion and supplication, so that, when they look on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a first-born.” (Zech. 10:12) Surely the Jews who had earlier cried to Pilate to crucify Him went home mourning, and “beating their breasts” in remorse and shame (Lk 23:48).

Today we celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was pierced for our atonement and purification. As we look at the image of our King of Divine Mercy, we see blood and water pouring out separately from his Sacred heart. His blood has sanctified us; His water has cleansed us of our sins. Let us always keep in mind His great compassion and mercy, that we may likewise be so inclined to others.

Merciful Father, You have planned everything for our salvation, and even when we sin, we have recourse in the Sacred Heart of your Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Grant that His wounds and afflictions may always encourage us to bear our own sacrifices, and be steadfast in our commitment to be pure and holy, through Your grace and in His Name. Amen.

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