(On the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Archbishop Gomez celebrated Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels for more than 2,000 faithful, beginning a day of Catholic prayer in response to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ decision to honor a group that insults God and the Catholic faith. The following is adapted from his homily.)
We gather on this Solemnity of The Sacred Heart of Jesus to celebrate the beauty of God’s love and pray that our hearts might be conformed to his, which burns with love for all people.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was pierced by a Roman soldier, as our Lord hung on the Cross, is the most perfect sign of God’s love for each and every one of us.
Out of his pierced heart flows the living waters that make us clean, the Precious Blood that redeems us from our sins, and sets us free.
The Sacred Heart is personal. His heart is for you and for me. His Sacred Heart is opened for every one of our neighbors.
From out of his Sacred Heart, Jesus speaks to every human heart, saying: “This is how much I love you, this is how much you are worth to me.”
One of the saints said: “Love can only be repaid with love.”
That is true. We can repay his love, only by loving Jesus as he has loved us.
This is what it means to be Catholic. The Catholic religion is the religion of love.
We believe that God is love, and he has opened his heart to reveal himself to us in Jesus Christ, just as St. John tells us today in the second reading.
And we believe that Jesus calls us to spend our lives on earth spreading the good news of his love.
Those words that Moses speaks in the first reading today — this is our message: “The Lord set his heart on you … the Lord loved you.”
Catholics share God’s love not only in our words and worship. We prove our love through works of charity and mercy for all men and women. We prove our love by working for peace and justice for every person.
That is why so many of us are offended by the decision to honor a group that insults Jesus and mocks Catholic believers.
Religious freedom and respect for the beliefs of others are hallmarks of our nation.
When God is insulted, when the beliefs of any of our neighbors are ridiculed, it diminishes all of us.
When we reward such acts, it hurts our unity as one city and one nation, as one family under God.
Our religious sisters, our priests and deacons, our Catholic lay people and consecrated men and women — they are serving selflessly in our communities, every day.
Wherever there is human need and human suffering, Catholics are there.
We are teachers and healers. We are advocates for those our society neglects — the poor, the homeless, the prisoner, the unborn, the immigrant.
We do this because we are Catholics, and we are called to love with the heart of Jesus.
Listen again to the Lord’s words in today’s Gospel: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.”
At every turn in his earthly life, Jesus rejected the temptation to violence. When one of his disciples raised his sword to fight for him, Jesus said: “No more of this.”
Jesus was meek and humble of heart.
Jesus gave his Church the mission to proclaim the good news of his love to every human heart, to the ends of the earth, until the day he returns.
That is our mission as Catholics.
So, my brothers and sisters, on this great feast, let us go to Jesus and learn from him. Let us ask him to make our hearts more like his own.
Jesus commands us to forgive those who trespass against us, and to pray for those who persecute us. And he taught us to oppose what is wrong and ugly, with what is beautiful and true. Just as he did.
We ask him today to give us the strength to do that.
We entrust our lives, and our city and country, to the tender heart of Holy Mary, the Mother of God and the mother of each of us.
Our Lady, Queen of the Angels, pray for us!