The spear blow
M Mons. Vincenzo Paglia

Gospel (Jn 19,31-37) - It was the day of Parascève and the Jews, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross during the Sabbath - that Sabbath was in fact a solemn day - asked Pilate to have their legs broken and taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of one and the other who had been crucified with him. However, when they came to Jesus, seeing that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one of the soldiers hit his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. He who has seen bears witness, and his testimony is true; he knows that he speaks the truth, so that you too may believe. In fact, this happened so that the Scripture would be fulfilled: "Not a bone of his will be broken." And another passage of Scripture says: "They will look at him whom they have pierced."

The commentary on the Gospel by Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia

Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. John writes: "One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out." This liturgical memory is an invitation to all of us to turn our attention to the mystery of that heart that empties itself for our salvation. It is a heart of flesh, which was moved, which cried, which was moved, which was passionate, never for itself but only for others. He made no privileges for anyone except the poorest, the smallest, the weakest, the sinners. It is not a heart like ours which is often made of stone, insensitive even in the face of so much love. It is from the compassion and emotion of that heart that the public life of Jesus began. Matthew writes (9.36) that Jesus, going through the cities and villages of Galilee, was moved by the crowds who flocked to him because they were tired and exhausted like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to gather them and take care of them. The good shepherd of whom the prophet Ezekiel spoke (34,11-12) had finally arrived with Jesus: «Behold, I myself will look for my sheep and search them. Just as a shepherd searches his flock when he finds himself among his scattered sheep, so I will search my sheep and gather them from all places." The Gospel of John invites us to keep our eyes fixed on that crucifix, on that heart that allowed itself to be pierced for us, to give men the strength to love again.