KOTA KINABALU – “Never before has the unconditional love of the Sacred Heart been as relevant as it is today!” according to Father Cosmas Lee.
Spoken like the prophet of hope, Fr Lee delivered a message of hope derived simply from the “symbol of God’s love” found in what Jesus has done for humanity in His Sacred Heart, quoting Matthew 11:29: “Learn of me for I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest for your soul.”
Fr Lee was the homilist at the titular feast day Mass of the Sacred Heart Cathedral on 22 June 2017, which also marked the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests.
The Mass was presided by Archbishop John Wong, and joining him at the altar were Archbishop Emeritus John Lee and 29 priests from the archdiocese, and over a thousand parishioners who turned up at Mass for the dual purpose of celebrating the feast day as well as to support their priests and bishops with prayers and affection.
“Theologians are saying that amid chaos,” said Fr Lee, “it is necessary to capture the transcendent in a symbol that is relevant for you; in other words, to capture the unconditional love of God in a symbol that is relevant for me.”
The “chaos” referred to the “lust for knowledge” that is the result of living in the information-centred society of the World Wide Web and the internet, and this “info-mania” has produced an unbelievable amount of information and data that could be stored in a small silicon chip and called forth at will.
“We can no longer see the forest for the trees,” lamented the homilist, “the sheer volume of all of this information has made this the age of the digest, the logo and the symbol.”
“The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the symbol of the fidelity of the love of God” Fr Lee underscored as he reminded all that “God loves us unconditionally with a love we cannot earn or ever be worthy of.”
“And He loves us for ourselves, not as we should be, or possibly could be, but as we are with all of our physical warts, psychological quirks and spiritual infidelities,” he added.
Quoting Pope Benedict XVI, the homilist attempted to explain, in biblical language, that the “heart” indicates the centre of the person where his sentiments and intentions dwell.
“In the Heart of the Redeemer, we adore God’s love for humanity, his will for universal salvation, his infinite mercy. Practising devotion to the Sacred Heart of Christ therefore means adoring that Heart which, after having loved us to the end, was pierced by a spear and from high on the Cross poured out blood and water, an inexhaustible source of new life.” (Benedict XVI, Angelus 5 June 2005, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus)
The priest went on: “Jesus was divine, the Son of God. He was also human, the son of Mary. He spoke with divine authority but he spoke in human language. He spoke in the simple language of ordinary people of his day about the things they were most familiar with…. And when he wanted to tell us of God’s love for us, he used the heart, the human symbol of love. He told us that we should learn of him that He was meek and humble of heart and we would find rest for our souls.”
Concluding his homily, Fr Lee drove home the point “The Sacred Heart of Jesus is most relevant today because not only is this the information-centred society, but it is also an age of anxiety, fear, insecurity and despair.”
He pointed out: “Every year millions suffer heart attacks. Heart failure is the leading cause of death today. Heart failure is also the most avoidable cause of death because long before the patient is rushed to the emergency room, trouble has been going on in the heart: in the fearful heart, the anxious heart, the discouraged heart, the lonely heart, the rejected heart, the angry heart, and the sinful heart. The root cause of all of this heart trouble is the failure to know and trust the meek and humble Sacred Heart of Jesus.” – CS