Scripture: Deut7,6-11; Resp. Psalm: Ps103,1-4,6-8,10; 2nd Reading: 1Jn4,7-16; Gosp. Accl.: Mt11,29;Gospel: Mt11,25-30
The mercy of our God is from everlasting to everlasting. Our God created out of love. He operates out of love. He did not create and abandon the world of His hands. Rather, He created and continues to care for His creation out of love.
Out of that love, from among the peoples He created, He chose Israel to be His people so that from the stock of David, from the race of Abraham, He might send the Redeemer He promised. This promise of redemption and salvation was consequent upon the Fall of man into sin and death in the Garden of Eden.
God therefore chose His people out of love, to be His own possession. This choice was not out of any merit of their own nor because they were the most numerous nation upon the face of the earth. Yahweh chose His people out of love in keeping with the oath which He swore to their Fathers. It was out of that same merciful love and fidelity to the covenant He made that He brought them out of the house of slavery and bondage.
God is therefore a faithful Lover! He repays the fidelity of those who love Him with even everlasting commitment to His own side of the bargain. This is the love that He calls all those who believe in His Son to. He calls each to a love that goes beyond the self, a love that transforms and heals. This is because love is of God. Love explains truly and profoundly the nature of God. Love explains why God sent His only begotten Son to us.
This love is not dependent on us. If it was, it would never have fulfilled its true potentials because of our infidelities and inability to keep to our own side of the commitment. But it does not depend on us. It depends solely on God. The word of God today explains it beautifully in the First Letter of Saint John.
The word of God tells us that no man has ever seen God but that if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us. When we love one another, God Himself comes to abide in us. This is because "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."
The love of God is the central proposition of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Son of God. It was that love that led our Lord to leave His throne on high in order to be born like a slave. It was that same love that moved Him to preach His gospel of salvation for the freedom of hearts and souls that were yearning for the manifestation of God's divine visitation.
It was that same love that moved Him to perform His miracles through which He demonstrated the power of God even in hopeless situations. It was that love that moved Him to accept death, death on a cross for the salvation of humanity. It was that love that made His heart to be pierced with a lance as He laid asleep in death on the cross of salvation.
It is that same love that propels our Lord to continue to search for sinners even till this last second. It is that same love that moves Him to forgive us our sins and infractions whenever we turn to Him with a contrite heart and humble spirit. That same love moves Him to declare to us today that those of us who labour and are heavy laden should come to Him,. He promises that He will give us rest from the burdens of our lives, because His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
This is the Heart that searches for us to heal, comfort, redeem us and make us whole. This is the Heart that pursues the sinner with great and infinite mercy and will not tire to bring to the harbour of peace, every wayward heart. This is the Heart of Jesus, the Heart of love.
As we celebrate this Solemnity today, we are called to reflect on our response to the love of God. We are called to meditate on the attention we pay to the abundance of grace that flows from the Heart of Jesus. May we never be blind to the love of this great Lover of our souls. May our hearts beat as one in love for Him who loved those who were His own and loved them to the end.
Let us pray: "Grant, we pray, almighty God, that we who glory in the Heart of your beloved Son and recall the wonders of his love for us, may be made worthy to receive an overflowing measure of grace from that fount of heavenly gifts." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always. Happy celebration. Rev. Fr. Anthony Igbekele