Comboni Lay Missionaries

Message of the MCCJ General Council for the feast of the Sacred Heart


Dear confreres
On the vigil of the feast of the Sacred Heart, we feel invited and attracted to contemplate in a special way this Heart, fruitful expression of the entire life of Jesus. We invite you especially to reflect on that historical moment of Jesus’ death on the Cross. An event that changes the course of history. A historical and at the same time symbolic event, which keeps happening in the lives of all who are crucified with Christ in today’s world.

That year the Passover of the Jews was different. On Friday, the day of preparation, as all were getting ready for the important feast, outside the walls of the city, at the place of the Skull, three men were ingloriously ending their young life on a cross. One of them was called Jesus. Most of his life had been quietly spent in a small, unknown village of Galilee. Then, during his last three years, he had become a pilgrim on the roads of Galilee, Samaria and Judea.

He was doing good to all, healing the sick, letting himself be moved by the crowds especially when he saw them weary and without direction. His words full of authority were listened to with pleasure and warmed everyone’s heart. An influential group, however, looked at him with suspicion, considered him a danger to the status quo and its privileges. And one day, on the Friday before Easter, lead him to the cross. The day was rapidly setting like many others. Jesus was hanging on the Cross, already dead: “Seeing that he was already dead, instead of breaking his legs, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately came out blood and water” (Jn 19:33-34).

Near the cross of Jesus was Mary, his mother, and the disciple Jesus loved. They saw the heart, pierced by the lance, meekly opening up and were seized by the contemplation of that miracle. Other people came close, looked at it and believed. They saw water and blood come out of it as the fountain of new life for the world. Thus the words that Jesus himself had spoken shortly before in Jerusalem, on the Feast of Tabernacles, were fulfilled: “If any man is thirsty let him come to me! Let he come and drink who believes in me. As Scripture says: From his breast shall flow fountains of living water.”

As an inexhaustible fountain, this heart does not tire of quenching the thirst of all who approach him. Following Mary and the disciple whom Jesus loved, Mary Magdalene and Thomas, Margaret Mary Alacoque and Daniel Comboni and many others have found in this humble and merciful heart a new vision of the world and of life. They rediscovered joy and courage when their heart was embittered, strength and passion to throw themselves fully into the mission work when their hope was failing: “Now with the Cross which is a sublime outpouring of love from the Heart of Jesus, we become powerful” (W 1735).

The Feast of the Heart of Jesus, in this Year of Mercy, invites us to rediscover the supreme act of God’s love, right to the end. It is a call to learn from Comboni to contemplate the Heart of the Good Shepherd and to set it at the centre of our lives. When the confreres, the people or the difficult work of the mission wear us out and make us lose the enthusiasm and the joy of serving, we are invited to contemplate this Heart: “From the contemplation of the pierced Heart of Jesus may it always be possible to renew in you a passion for the people of our time, which is expressed through a gratuitous love in the commitment of solidarity, especially towards the weakest and most disadvantaged people. So that you may continue to promote justice and peace, the respect and dignity of every person” (Pope Francis to the Comboni missionaries, 1.10.2015).
The MCCJ General Council

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