Each year I look forward to seeing the gospel for the Feast of the Sacred Heart, knowing that these words have something to say about my life and our life. This year we enter into the experience of Jesus dead on the cross. The disciples and his family must have felt despair – that which they had hoped for had ended. The kingdom they had imagined was not going to happen. I am sure that Mary and the women who surrounded Jesus as well as his disciples were fixed on the profound experience of death, totally forgetting any talk or allusion to overcoming death and the resurrection. The first part of his journey was over. As the disciples shared on the road to Emmaus, “we had hoped.” And yet there is the hint of what was to come – the blood and water flowing from side of Jesus– out of the wounds that he carried, the wounds of humanity and the death he experienced there is new life.
In some ways we can be very much like the followers of Jesus who stood by the cross, so bewildered by loss or suffering or death that we miss the signs of new life. We know from our own lives that it is essential to grieve. We also know that profound loss and suffering pushes us at some moment to seek new life. We are called as Religious of the Sacred Heart to enter into the mystery of the open side of Jesus, to enter into Christ’s suffering and the suffering of humanity and allow the depth of this suffering to transform us from the inside out into women of hope. Our Constitutions remind us that gathering as one people around the table of life in Eucharist, we enter into the mystery of the open side of Jesus, celebrating His death and resurrection, the heart of which is the sufferings and hopes of the human family (Constitutions, 5).