In today’s gospel reading Jesus speaks of himself as ‘gentle and humble of heart,’ inviting us to take on his ‘easy yoke’ and his ‘light burden.’ The first reading from the prophet Zechariah describes the humble king who in his triumph comes into the city riding on a donkey. Jesus claimed this image for himself on Palm Sunday.
In our liturgy we celebrate this ‘gentle and humble heart’ of Jesus. The heart is a symbol of God’s love for us all. God who wants to show himself to us that we can engage in a deep loving relationship with him.
In his homilies, Joseph De Piro reflects on Jesus ‘God like us’ in the incarnation, ‘God with us’ in his suffering, ‘God in us’ in the Eucharist, and ‘God for us’ in his Sacred Heart. De Piro’s reflections on ‘God for us’ could be a good meditation on Jesus’ ‘gentle and humble heart.’
De Piro experienced the Sacred Heart of Jesus as the dwelling place of divine love that is continuously saving us.
“Where did the divine love dwell when it came down from heaven?”
“It lived in the Sacred Heart, the most noble part of humanity united to divinity; the Sacred Heart of Jesus …. As the rudder guides the ship, so does the divine heart, full of love and descending from heaven; it guides the thoughts, words and actions of Jesus. In the scriptures we have the most beautiful tribute: ‘he went about doing good.’ (Acts 10:38)”
Even if Jesus had not died on the cross, there would still have been a place for the devotion to the Heart of Jesus:
“It was enough for our salvation, for the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to produce the blood that animated Jesus’ body, making it possible for him to perform both human and divine actions. Every one of Our Lord Jesus’ free actions had infinite value, and could have redeemed us without any suffering ….”
However, the suffering of this Sacred Heart perfectly reveals Jesus’ love.
“It is the same with Jesus. Tell him that he did not have to go all the way for us; that he could have saved a at least single drop of blood that filled his divine heart; he would not!”
On 22nd August 1916, De Piro wrote to Cardinal Filippo Giustini, prefect of the Congregation of Rites, requesting to present the members of his young society under the title of mission. In his letter De Piro wrote:
“Since the very beginning, each day has brought with it its heavy burdens and sufferings. Disappointments and humiliations have not been lacking; three very promising students for the future of the society, have left. Yet Divine Providence has not failed to lighten my burdens; mixing these moments of desolation with ones of sweet consolation.”
On 3rd October 1932 the founder celebrated the laying and the blessing of the foundation stone of the Motherhouse, St Agatha’s. In his welcoming speech he said:
“‘Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain.’ (Ps 127:1)
Without any reservation, these divine words have enkindled in us total trust in God’s help. Moreover, they have strengthened our faith in the first movement of the Principal Agent. These words have been chosen and placed at the beginning of the rules which guide the new missionary society which gathers us here, for the benefit of its increase and prosperity. It is just as fitting and worthy to remember these words today.
Your Grace, as everyone knows, God’s initiatives – not human endeavours – carry difficulties as a sign and an ornament. For about fourteen years, there have been many difficulties, one after another, in this work we have undertaken; any person would have readily given up. Since it is God who has been working at this task, his servants have never lacked courage. Like a firm, sweet breeze, God’s Spirit … blew in the sails of our poor boat, troubled by the waves.”