Today's Gospel in Art - Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

  • Patrick van der Vorst

Sacred Heart of Jesus with St Ignatius of Loyola and St Louis Gonzaga,by José de Páez 1770 © Christian Art

Sacred Heart of Jesus with St Ignatius of Loyola and St Louis Gonzaga,by José de Páez 1770 © Christian Art

Gospel of 19th June 2020 - Matthew 11:25-30

Jesus exclaimed, 'I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

'Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.'

Reflection on the Painting

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, a devotion which celebrates Jesus' physical heart as the representation of His divine love for humanity. Our painting is by Mexican painter José de Páez and shows the Sacred Heart of Jesus with Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Saint Louis Gonzaga, surrounded by winged angel heads.

But let's focus on the heart itself in our painting. With the crown of thorns, the cross and the wound from the spear that pierced Christ's side, this image most obviously brings to mind the Passion of Our Lord. Emanating from the heart we can see fire and rays of light. The fire is symbolic in two ways. Firstly, Christ's self-offering on the cross was the consummation of all the sacrifices of the Old Testament, which also included burnt offerings, which were the highest form of sacrifices in ancient Israel. Secondly, the burning heart represents Christ's passionate love for us. We pray for our own hearts to be set on fire with love for Him now too.

Surrounding the flames of fire, we see rays of light, which refer to John 8:12 where Christ declares that He is the light of the world. Light, like fire, is a symbol of divinity. Think of the light at the Transfiguration and also the blinding light that Saint Paul experienced on the road to Damascus…

The light that enlightens us and the flames that set us on fire, Sacred Heart of Jesus, within Your heart we place our own hearts…

See also: ICN June 9 2013 Pope Francis reflects on Sacred Heart of Jesus -


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