As lay associates, sisters and brothers of the Ireland England Province of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary, we are priviliged to be able to offer you some thoughts and reflections on our Sunday readings. We start this sharing with homilies that have been prepared for Advent 2018, beginning with the Vigil Mass for Dec. 1st.  Many of our lay associates, sisters and brothers have contributed to putting together for the first time, homilies which cover every Sunday of the Liturgical year.  We hope that you will find this service to be of assistance to you in your ministry or just as an opportunity for you to reflect and to pray on the various themes that these reading have to offer us.

preach gospel always

6.  All homilies from the 17th to the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time can be accessed by clicking here.
 Each week on a Monday, we will try to post the homily for the following w/e on this Homily Homepage.  (See previous homilies at the bottom of the page)   


Alfred opened his daily newspaper one morning, and while reading the death notices, came across his own name listed among those who had recently died. He was shocked to see his name there, seeing as he was still very much alive, but what shocked him even more was the description of him as a merchant of death, whose inventions had resulted in the death of many people and who had made a fortune from it.  He was stunned to think that this is how people would remember him! He had after all invented dynamite and other weapons of war. Alfred, better known to us as Alfred Bernhard Nobel, after whom the Nobel Peace Prize is named, realised he had better change and spent the rest of his life trying to improve people’s lives. He left his fortune on his death to fund Generous prizes for those who would continue this work. It was seeing his own obituary that forced Alfred Nobel to change. We hopefully will not see our own obituary in the newspaper, but the story should help us to review our own our lives and ask ourselves about our own possible self-centredness and self-absorption.
Today’s Gospel should also help to focus our attention. It’s a Gospel that I am sure can speak to every one of us. I am, and you probably are, the rich man in the Gospel today. We might not be building sheds to hoard our harvest of grain, and we might not be inventors of weapons of mass destruction like Alfred Nobel, but maybe we are building barns to store our grudges; maybe even our money; without doubt too, our time, so as we don’t have to share it, and indeed many other things. The temptation when we hear this parable of the ‘rich man’ is to think only of money and greed. The parable isn’t just about a rich man over 2,000 years ago. It’s about me and you too, in many different ways. But let’s look a little more deeply at the parable, where hopefully we will see that it is not just about money and wealth.
Jesus is preaching to the crowd, telling them to be careful of the yeast of the Pharisees – their hypocrisy. He warns that everything now covered will be uncovered, and everything hidden will be made clear. He warns those gathered not to be afraid of those who kill the body as after that they can do no more; but fear him, who after he has killed, has the power to cast into hell. In the middle of speaking to the crowd, suddenly he is asked by a ‘man in the crowd’ to intervene in a family dispute over inheritance. Jesus doesn’t want to get drawn into a personal family dispute and warns instead of the danger of avarice of any kind, ‘for life is not made secure by what a person owns, even when they have more than they need’. He then gives us this parable of the rich man.
On first hearing the parable you would think that this rich man would be considered prudent and wise. He is planning for the future, like a good financial advisor would tell us to do today. He is not described as being wicked or getting all he has in an illegal way, but seems instead to have received some good fortune of a great harvest. He realises that there may be difficult years ahead, and so in this good year he saves the excess grain and builds bigger barns so that it is safe and secure. Then in his retirement no doubt he will be able to ‘take it easy, eat, drink, have a good time’ and live comfortably and peacefully from ‘his’ wise and prudent decisions.
Of course the key here is ‘his’. Read again the words of the rich man. What am I to do; I have not enough room; this is what I will do; I will pull down my barns; I will say to my soul. In all that he is doing, God has not been taken into the equation, mentioned or thanked. It’s for this reason that he is a ‘fool’. There is no thanks for all he has, no gratitude shown for all he has received, or even indeed for all those who may have helped him along the way. Instead he wants more, and builds bigger. He doesn’t even consider, it seems, sharing it with others.
There is also no taking into consideration that he may not live to reap the reward of his harvest, living only for himself and not realising that he could die at any moment. Look at what the first reading says: “Vanity of vanity, the preacher says. For so it is a man who has laboured wisely, skilfully and successfully must leave what is his own to someone who has not toiled for it at all”. Or in the words of the Gospel ‘Fool, this very night the demand will be made for your soul, and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?
This rich man is considered a fool in Scripture not because he is a wealthy man and not because he saves for the future, as there is nothing wrong with any of these things. Instead he is a fool because he lives only for himself and because he believes that he can secure his life with possessions that he builds up and stores up around him. 
So let us today reflect on what we are building barns to store up in our own lives? Where have we failed to be grateful for all that we have? When have we failed to share what we have received from God with others? Can we reflect on how we may be depending too much on possessions to give our life meaning? Let’s focus on building up our treasure in heaven, not in human barns. Let’s focus on God and not on material goods. Let’s do an Alfred Nobel on it and be prepared, not to kill people or make weapons that destroy, but instead kill off that in our lives that prevents us from being grateful children of God. 
Let us finish with the words of St Paul to the Colossians from our Second reading: Let us look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Let our thoughts be on heavenly things, not the things on earth. That is why we must kill everything that belongs only to earthly life. There is only Christ: he is everything and he is in everything. Amen

6.   All homilies from the 17th to the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time can be accessed by clicking here.

5.   All homilies from Trinity Sunday to the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time can be accessed by clicking here.

4.   All homilies from the 4th Sunday of Easter to the Feast of Pentecost can be accessed by clicking here.

3.   All homilies from the 4th Sunday of Lent to the 3rd Sunday of Easter can be accessed by clicking here.

2.  All homilies from the 4th Sunday in Ordinary time to the 3rd Sunday of Lent can be accessed by clicking here.

1.  All homilies for Advent up to the third Sunday in Ordinary time can be accessed by clicking here.