The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that Jesus “has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation, ‘is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that… love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings’ without exception” (No. 478).

To appreciate this rich symbolism of the heart, we must remember in that Judaism the word heart represented the core of the person. Here was the seat of all emotion, especially love. As the Psalms express, God speaks to a person in his heart and there speaks to him. This notion of the heart is clear when we read the words of Deuteronomy 6.5-6: “Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today.”

One of the most beautiful passages of the Gospels is our Lord saying, “Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Your souls will rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden light” (Matthew 11.28-30). Therefore, while meditating on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we are called to share in the love of the Lord and strive to express our own genuine love for God, ourselves and our neighbours.

Throughout the Gospel, we see the outpouring of Jesus’ love from His heart, whether in miracle stories, the reconciliation of sinners, or the compassion for the grieving. Even on the cross, our Lord poured out His love for us: there the soldier’s lance pierce His side and out flowed blood and water. St. Bonaventure said the Church was born from the wounded side of the Lord with the blood and water representing the Sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and baptism.