Gn 2. 18-24; Ps 128; Hb 2. 9-11; Mk 10. 2-16
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Heart at Home
This Sunday throws into bold relief our respect for life. The church throughout the United States asks those who assemble around the tables of divine word and eucharist to allow respect for life to be a lens through which our vision of divine word and eucharist might be sharpened.
Our eucharist is both source and summit./1/ Something lays between. If the eucharist is Jesus’ self-gift to us to guide us on our pilgrim way to [the] kingdom/2/ he proclaimed, then our prayer—our relationship with Jesus—our self-gift to Jesus rests between both source and summit and realigns our direction as we journey.
One metaphor of our self-gift to Jesus has a venerable place in the church. It is consecrating our hearts and homes to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This is what Fr. Snow, Br. Denis, a team of planners and I invite parishioners to do for a year beginning this month. It is a great help to respect life.
While the word “heart” refers to a specific organ of the human body, you and I use the word “heart” more often to mean the whole person. “Put your heart in it!” is such a way. We know we mean self, body and soul. In the same way, to consecrate, that is, to join our hearts to Jesus means we pray to put our lives in the service of Jesus, his gospel and the life he invites us to live by the power of his Spirit.
God became flesh and blood in Jesus by their Spirit. God inhabited our world, our humanity. We humans receive the world through our senses. By becoming human Jesus made our senses, already good because he created them, Jesus made our senses holy. In liturgy the church exploits our senses with water, oil, fire, bread, wine, silence, words and song. Using our senses, we consecrate ourselves to Jesus and his Sacred Heart in a home liturgy.
It is called an Enthronement of the Icon of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. A member of each household will receive this icon to take home inside this liturgy of Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for Gesu Parish. The first sense we employ is our sight. What catches your eye? What do you notice? Much is present to notice many times over: Jesus’ face; his hands; his eyes; a scroll he holds; his heart; and more.
Before families enthrone the icon of the Sacred Heart in their homes, people consider their hearts. The Sacraments of Reconciliation, the Eucharist along with one’s prayer style, members of one’s family, the walls of the house itself can help our hearts become more alert, more supple and more grateful for the many gifts we have received. When a family chooses a date this month to consecrate themselves and their home to Jesus’ Sacred Heart, they will find its liturgy here.
Fr. Snow, Br. Denis and I ask that to keep alert to Jesus and to the ways Jesus blesses you and calls you to glorify his name with your lives, you begin to do the Daily Examen together. The Daily Examen was St. Ignatius’ favored way of praying. On the reverse of the icon is an adaptation of it you can introduce before you begin supper or at another time when everyone is together. One way I’ve introduced people to the Daily Examen is to do one of is steps daily for a week. The next week add to the first step the second step, and the next the third step and so on. Take one week at supper or whenever your family is together and ask Jesus to join you; then share: for what moment today I am most grateful? for what moment am I least grateful?
Each one or together you may begin your day with the Daily Offering Prayer to unite yourselves with "Jesus...who continues to offer himself in the eucharist for the salvation of you and of the world.”/3/ In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week ask the Trinity to brighten your home with grace. Ask Mary to present your household to Jesus. Speak with Jesus, asking him to deepen your desire for his life in your home and to help you resolve to dedicate your home “in response to Jesus’ great love for [you].”/4/ Close by saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer, which Jesus gave us to guide our steps in his love and to model it for each other beginning at home. The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in your home will help you feel more deeply with all your senses his love and how to radiate it to others inside and outside your home.
1. Decree on the Liturgy, 10, 14; Second Vatican Council.
2. Prayer after Communion, Order of Christian Funerals, 410A.
3. Daily Offering Prayer, adapted on the reverese of the Icon of the Sacred Heart of Jesus given to Gesu Parishioners this weekend.
4. Introduction of Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for Gesu Parish.
Wiki-image by AndreasPraefcke of a heart of Jesus window is used according to the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. Wiki-image of Claude dela Colombiere, S.J., spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, is in the public domain.