The pope’s daily homily on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
VATICAN CITY — To hear the Lord’s voice, we have to become little, Pope Francis said on Friday, as the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The pope’s words came during his homily at Holy Mass in the Chapel of his residence at Santa Marta.
Reflecting on today’s First Reading from Deuteronomy (7:6-11) — in which Moses tells the people that God has chosen them “to be a people for his own possession, out of all the peoples that are on the face of the earth” — Pope Francis that on this feast of the Sacred Heart, God “gives us the grace of celebrating with joy the great mysteries of our salvation, of His love for us.”
The pope reflected on two particular words from today’s First Reading: chosen and littleness.
Regarding the first, the pope said it is not we who have “chosen Him” but rather God who has made himself “our prisoner”:
“He has bound himself to our lives; he cannot leave. He played hard! And he remains faithful in this attitude. We have been chosen for love and this is our identity. ‘I have chosen this religion; I have chosen …’: no, you did not choose. He is the One who has chosen you. He has called you and bound himself to you. And this is our faith. If we do not believe this, then we do not understand the message of Christ; we do not understand the Gospel.”
Regarding the second word — littleness — Pope Francis recalled how Moses specified that the Lord had set his love upon the people of Israel and chose them because they were “the fewest (smallest) of all peoples.” (Deut. 7: 6-7):
“He fell in love with our littleness, and that is why he has chosen us. He chooses the little: not the great ones, but the little ones. And he revealed himself to the little ones: ‘You have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes’ (Mt 11:25). He reveals himself to those who are little. If you want to understand something of the mystery of Jesus, lower yourself, make yourself small. Recognize that you are nothing. And he does not only reveal himself to little ones, but he calls the little ones: ‘Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ You who are the littlest — through suffering, through weariness … He chooses the little ones; he reveals himself to little ones, he calls the little ones. But does He not call the great ones? His heart is open, but the the great ones cannot hear his voice because they are too full of themselves. To hear the voice of the Lord, you have to become small.”
Thus do we arrive at the mystery of the Heart of Christ, which is not, as “some say” a “little image” for the devout, Pope Francis said. The pierced Heart of Christ is “the heart of revelation, the heart of our faith because He became little; he chose this way.” In other words, he continued, the Lord humbled and emptied himself “even unto death” on the Cross. It was a “choosing of littleness so that they glory of God might be manifest,” he said.
From the pierced Heart of Christ Crucified, “blood and water” came forth. “This is the mystery of Christ,” which we celebrate today, the pope explained: a “heart that loves, that chooses, that is faithful,” and that “bind himself to us, reveals himself to the little ones, calls the little ones, makes himself little”:
“We believe in God, yes, yes, and in Jesus, yes … ‘Is Jesus God?’ — ‘Yes’. But this is the mystery. This is the manifestation. This is the glory of God. Faithfulness in choosing, in binding himself and in littleness even for himself: becoming small, emptying himself. The problem of faith is the heart and core of our lives: we can be very, very virtuous but with little or no faith. We must begin here, with the mystery of Jesus Christ who has saved us by his faithfulness.”
Pope Francis concluded, praying that the Lord might grant us the grace of celebrating, on this Solemnity of the Heart of Christ, “the great act, the great work of salvation, the great work of Redemption.”