Not long ago our chaplain made the comment: “The Church celebrates a feast in which we celebrate the Sacred Heart. Have you noticed there are no feasts that celebrate the sacred brain or the sacred gut?!” The heart is seen as the center of love.
In the reading today from St. Peter’s letter, we are exhorted to “love one another intensely from a pure heart.” Peter knew something about having a pure heart. Through Peter’s many encounters with Jesus, some of them quite intense he learned about the meaning of love.
I think particularly of the encounter between Jesus and Peter occurring post resurrection. The scene took place “following breakfast.” Jesus asks Peter directly and deliberately three times “Do you love me?” Asking three times perhaps is a reminder to Peter of his recent betrayal. Jesus’ response to Peter, however, was not a reprimand but one of wanting him to take action – a doing of the word. The first and third time Jesus said “Feed my sheep” and the second time “Tend my sheep” – behaviors that demonstrate Jesus’ tender hearted love. Acting with kindness, compassion, patience, doing of the corporal works of mercy are deeds that reveal one having a pure heart that leads one to greater love of the Sacred Heart.
Sr. Aileen Bankemper, OSB