"It was Preparation Day, and to prevent the bodies remaining on
the cross during the sabbath – since that sabbath was a day of special
solemnity – the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the
bodies taken away. Consequently the soldiers came and broke the legs
of the first man who had been crucified with him and then of the
other. When they came to Jesus, they found he was already dead, and so
instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with
a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water. This is the
evidence of one who saw it – trustworthy evidence, and he knows he
speaks the truth – and he gives it so that you may believe as well.
Because all this happened to fulfil the words of scripture:
Not one bone of his will be broken;
and again, in another place scripture says:
They will look on the one whom they have pierced."
– Jn 19:31-27, the Gospel for today's Solemnity of the Sacred Heart.
Detail from the apse mosaic in the chapel of the Mercy Convent in Albany, NY.