Pope Francis on Friday morning, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, celebrated the Jubilee for Priests, inviting clergy to reflect on two hearts: “the Heart of the Good Shepherd, and our own heart as priests.” In his homily during Holy Mass, the pope told thousands of priests from every continent gathered in St. Peter’s Square: “The Heart of the Good Shepherd is not only the Heart that shows us mercy, but is itself mercy,” he said. “There the Father’s love shines forth; there I know I am welcomed and understood as I am; there, with all my sins and limitations, I know the certainty that I am chosen and loved,” he told priests. “Contemplating that heart, I renew my first love: the memory of that time when the Lord touched my soul and called me to follow him, the memory of the joy of having cast the nets of our life upon the sea of his word (cf. Lk 5:5).” The Holy Father said “the great riches of the Heart of Jesus are two: the Father and ourselves. His days were divided between prayer to the Father and encountering people. So too the heart of Christ’s priests knows only two directions: the Lord and his people.”
From the complete textof the homily:
Our ministry is often full of plans, projects and activities: from catechesis to liturgy, to works of charity, to pastoral and administrative commitments. Amid all these, we must still ask ourselves: What is my heart set on? Where is it directed —[What comes to mind is the beautiful prayer of the Liturgy Ubi vera Sunt Gaudia]–, What is the treasure that it seeks? For as Jesus says: “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mt6:21). [There are weaknesses in all of us, even sins. But let’s go deeper, to the roots: Where is the root of our weaknesses, our sins, that is to say what precisely is that “treasure” that distances us from the Lord?] The great riches of the Heart of Jesus are two: the Father and ourselves. His days were divided between prayer to the Father and encountering people. [Not the distance, the encounter.] So too, the heart of Christ’s priests knows only two directions: the Lord and his people. The heart of the priest is a heart pierced by the love of the Lord. For this reason, he no longer looks to himself –[he should not look at himself], but is turned towards God and his brothers and sisters. It is no longer “a fluttering heart”, allured by momentary whims, shunning disagreements and seeking petty satisfactions. Rather, it is a heart rooted firmly in the Lord, warmed by the Holy Spirit, open and available to our brothers and sisters. [And there, he resolves his sins] To help our hearts burn with the charity of Jesus the Good Shepherd, we can train ourselves to do three things suggested to us by today’s readings: seek out, include and rejoice.
He explains. Read on.