SUNDAY HOMILIES

SSCC - SUNDAY HOMILIES FOR ALL YEAR ROUND 

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.  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

 

1. Homilies - Sundays of Advent                  Each Monday, we will try to post the homily for the following w/e on this Homepage.  (See previous homilies below)   

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT – YEAR B by Bishop Brendan Comiskey, sscc 

I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief!

There is a story in the Gospels about the disciples of Jesus caught in a violent storm on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was asleep in the boat and they ran to him with the news, “We are going down!” Jesus rebuked the storm but first he rebuked his friends for their lack of faith.

Every time I come across this story I am reminded of my life at home. When my father or another family member would get overly excited or worried about something, my mother would gently ask him or her, “Where’s your faith?” To this day I hear her saying the same thing to me when events tend to overwhelm me. “Brendan! Where’s your faith?” In the story, Jesus was asking the disciples the same question. He’s asking every one of us here this morning the same question.

We are living through unprecedented times of fear and anxiety and sometimes panic, testing times when we need to summon up all our strengths and supports. Surely one of these supports must be our faith and trust in God who tells us: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). After saying this, Jesus showed them the wounds on his hands and feet and side as if to say, “Trust me. I know what I am talking about!”

At times of crisis unbelievers sometimes challenge believers “Where is your God now?” There is a story of a Nazi concentration camp where the brutal prison guards would order the thousands of prisoners out to the parade ground, sometimes in the middle of the night, and sometimes naked. They would then force them to look on as they hanged a child. Anyone trying to avoid the terrible sight would receive a blow of a whip or rifle butt.

Many times the child would not die instantly but would choke to death over a long period. On one occasion a man couldn’t bear it any longer and screamed, “Where is your God now?” to which another man shouted, “Are you blind or what? Can you not see him in front of you hanging on that rope?” When his people suffer, God suffers. When the Risen Christ confronted Paul on the road to Damascus, he didn’t ask Paul, “Why are you persecuting my followers?” He asked him, “Why are you persecuting ME?”

FAITH UNUSED IS FAITH LOST.       Every night on the news I marvel at the ingenuity of people. Far from sitting mired in fear and panic, some search deep within themselves for new ways to respond by reaching out, often to help other people. Many people of faith are going inward to search for God in the midst of the storm and to find ever-new ways of living with the “new normal”. This Advent, we are in a very different kind of storm and each one of us should ask himself or herself, “Where is my faith?” When it comes to our faith, we either use it or lose it. So pray often, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief”.

God must be mightily puzzled when he listens to some of our prayers and hymns during Advent. “O come, O come, Emmanuel”, for example. Emmanuel literally means God-with-us, so if he’s with us already, why are we begging him to come? It’s not God who has to come. It’s we who are not “all there”.

We have God’s word for it that he has come and lives within us at the deepest level of our hearts. It is he who is longing for us. “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6).

The Father is within us, always waiting for us to come to him. He invites us in not because we are worthy or without sin but simply because he loves us. During this Advent we might respond to his invitation. To enter his room and rest in him. No need for words, no need for thoughts, however holy, just being heart to heart with the Father. Remaining open to God’s presence and his action within us, ”impressing upon our hearts lively sentiments of faith, hope and love”.

This is God’s great desire: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

It broke the heart of the Son of God that so few even bothered to respond to his invitation. “"Jerusalem, Jerusalem … how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” No wonder God wept!

God is still weeping!

END

1. Homilies - Sundays of Advent

 

Click here for HOMILIES - YEAR A & C