"A Heart Stronger than Death"

The greatest love the world has ever know is revealed in the Pierced Heart of Jesus Christ. This love conquered death. This love unites all God's children and keeps them united even when death physically separates them from one another.

It often happens that at the celebration of Holy Mass in my Jesuit community, some of my brothers stumble at the words of the first form of the Penitential Rite: "I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters...."  Some drop the word "sisters" because no women are present. Yet, while they are not physically present, they are with us in an even deeper way.  Our celebration of the Mass includes the living and the dead. The Communion of Saints, those present physically and many others present spiritually, gather to pray and celebrate at every Mass.

Moreover, when we receive our Lord's Body and Blood in Holy Communion, we are one with Him who is one with His entire Body--the Church--living and deceased. We may be separated from some parts of the Body through time and space, but we are united intimately in the Sacred Heart of Jesus who gives Himself to us in the Eucharist.

In the Litany of the Sacred Heart we invoke Jesus as a "Burning Furnace of Charity." Hebrews 12:
29) says that "our God is a consuming fire." Like the burning bush with which God appeared to Moses, the love of God consumes but does not destroy. It purifies us and unites us to God Himself and to all the faithful. Through the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus--Burning Furnace of Charity--we are one with God and each other.

In his General Audience of October 30, 2013, Pope Francis spoke of this union. He called the Trinity the "burning furnace of love" and then said:

"In this communion--communion means 'common-union'--we are a great family, all of us, where the components help and support each other. ... All the baptized down here on earth, the souls in Purgatory and the Blessed who are already in Paradise make up one great family."

We never lose a loved one who has died because this "one great family" exists in the Heart of Jesus--a Burning Furnace of Love that is stronger than death.

Heart of Jesus, Heart of the Most Holy Trinity, keep us one with You and with all our brothers and sisters. Amen.