Good Friday – the second Apostle of the Sacred Heart is the Soldier who pierced the Sacred Heart.
The soldier is impressed by Our Lady’s behaviour. He only understands Jesus’s Passion when he sees His mother. Our lady is the bridge to understanding Our Lords Sacred Heart and this was well demonstrated on the film, ”the Passion” by Mel Gibson. The soldier accompanies Our Lord in his passion. The breaking the legs of those who had been crucified was to ensure that not only was the body killed but also broken. In Roman culture this symbolised the destruction of the person and the removal of them from society even after death. Our Lord didn’t want the symbolic separation from society. Jesus wanted to include everyone. The soldier could see that Jesus was very different from any other man. Jesus had spoken with compassion to the women of Jerusalem, revealed tenderness between himself and his Mother, He forgave those who were killing him not knowing what they were doing and promised paradise for the repentant thief. Finally He was able to cry out in a loud voice just before He died, something impossible for death by crucifixion which is death by suffocation. For the soldier, the heart of Jesus was a mystery that he wanted to understand. What was in this divine heart? The two thieves had their legs broken to hasten death, but when he came to Jesus, He was already dead.
Of the five wounds endured by Christ, four were given when he was alive but the piercing of the Heart was given after death. The symbolism of this is, the wounds given before death represent Our Lord’s love for us by the giving of his human life and the piercing of His Heart was to give His divine life to the Church. The Blood and water, which flowed from the Heart of Christ, symbolise the Mass and the sacraments. Jn. 19: 34’ “Blood and Water” i.e. The Mass precedes all the other sacraments. The suffering of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane with the sweating of blood would have caused blood to pass into the pericardium, the membrane covering the heart, so that when his heart was pierced this blood would spill first.
Do we LIVE the Mass as the soldier did – wanting to understand the Sacred Heart? Devotion to the Sacred Heart appears throughout the Mass. Just as on the cross, the sacred Heart was not directly visible, so neither is it now because faith is necessary.