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

 13. Homilies - 24th to 27th Sundays in Ordinary Time

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)   

TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – YEAR A by Fr. Fergal Maguire ss.cc.

Forgiveness brings many benefits, particularly to the ‘forgiver,’ however, to forgive is not always easy. And even if we truly want to forgive, many who would like to let go of anger and forgive are stumped with the question of just how to forgive? While we all may have a unique outlook on how to forgive, Jesus tells us just how necessary it is.

I think it is fair to say that we all know how difficult forgiving is, it is something that is much easier said than done. Forgiving is challenging, it may be the most challenging thing we are ever asked to do. And yet we all face a variety of situations both serious and mundane that cause us think about forgiveness every day. Will I forgive the driver who cut me off in traffic, or will I blow him off the road? Will I forgive the person who bumped into me on the street, or make my displeasure known? Will I forgive the mother-inlaw who I can never please and boy does she make it known, can I forgive being badmouthed my sibling, colleague or friend or even worse, can I forgive being betrayed by my spouse?

It is often easier to forgive the stranger then the ones we are supposed to love. As the lyrics of the song go, “the ones we love the most are the ones we hurt the most…” making forgiveness all the more difficult. Yes we all know how difficult it is to forgive, we seem to prefer to hold on to grudges, that like wounds unattended, fester. I once heard holding on a grudge against someone described as being like drinking poison yourself in the hope that the other person would get sick! In holding onto grudges we only damage ourselves.

Ultimately, forgiveness is especially challenging because it’s hard to let go of what happened. Forgiving someone who has committed unacceptable behaviour can be difficult when we are having trouble letting go of anger or hurt surrounding the event itself. For Jesus forgiveness was central to his life and preaching. Jesus that master of storytelling, told many stories, parables about forgiveness. In today’s Gospel we have the parable of the unforgiving servant, but there are many more, the barren fig tree, the good shepherd and the lost sheep, the woman who lost her coin, and my favourite forgiveness parable of all, the Prodigal Son.

But Jesus didn’t just tell stories, he practiced what he preached. He was extremely kind and compassionate in the way that he forgave those who had sinned against others. Jesus told the paralytic lowered down through the roof “My child your sins are forgiven” to the sinful woman who poured out her tears over His feet and dried them with her hair, He said “Your sins are forgiven” and in another of my favourite passages from scripter, when the woman caught in the act of adultery is thrown before him by the angry mob hell bent on blood, he looked at her with forgiveness and nothing but compassion as He said those absolving words, intended for us all “I do not condemn you”.

The ultimate example of forgiveness Jesus gives us is when he forgives those who hurt and wronged Him personally. He forgave Peter who denied him, the apostles who betrayed and abandoned him in his hour of need. He forgave those who mocked and scourged him, spat on him, nailed him to the cross, pierced his side with a lance, and murdered him is such a barbaric way. “Forgive them for they know not what they do” He said. Words we are to echo in the way we live our lives.

Modern medical research has linked forgiveness with benefits, among other positives, less stress and better mental health. One study showed that “participants who undertook forgiveness perceived senses of mental well-being, which included reductions in negative affect, feeling positive emotions, experiencing positive relations with others, discerning sensibilities of spiritual growth, and identifying a sense of meaning and purpose in life as well as a greater sense of empowerment.” Jesus just said you need to forgive.

To sum it up, forgiveness is not only good for your soul but also for your body, for your relationships, and your place in the world. If Jesus himself telling us to forgive was not enough, that’s reason enough to convince virtually anyone to do the what is need in order to let go of anger, hurts resentments and grudges and work on forgiveness. Recall those wonderful words of Jesus, I have come so that you may have life and have it to the full. Jesus knows well forgiveness is necessary for achieving a full life and life to the full.

First, keep in mind that forgiveness is something we do because Jesus asked us to forgive. If you do we will experience its benefits. In forgiving we break the emotional attachment we have to what happened. (Think of it like taking your hand away from the flames of a fire— the fire remains hot, but you move away from it for your own safety.) Also, remind yourself that you are moving forward, and forgiving this person allows them (or at least what they've done) to stay in the past as you move on to the fullness of life. It is hard to move forward looking backwards, you may stumble. Finally, Journaling, prayer, or meditation, Confession the Sacrament of Reconciliation can all help, and let’s face it we all need help now and then. None of us are perfect, we all need to forgive and be forgiven. Let us ask Jesus the Master of forgiveness to help us to forgive, so we may indeed experience its benefits and get on with living our life to the full.

END

1. All homilies for Advent can be accessed by clicking here.

2. Feasts of the Holy Family to the Baptism of Jesus - Year A.

3. Homilies - 2nd Sunday in Ordinary time to 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

4. Homilies - 6th Sunday in Ordinary time to 2nd Sunday of Lent  

5. Homilies - 3rd Sunday in Ordinary time to 4th Sunday of Lent.

6. Homilies - 5th Sunday of Lent to Easter Sunday

7. Homilies - 2nd to 4th Sundays of Easter

8. Homilies - 5th & 6th Sundays of Easte

9. Homilies - Feast of Ascension to Feast of Corpus Christi (May/Jun)

10. Homilies - 12th to 15th Sundays in Ordinary Time

11. Homilies - 16th to 19th Sundays in Ordinary Time

12. Homilies - 20th to 23th Sundays in Ordinary Time

13. Homilies - 24th to 27th Sundays in Ordinary Time 

Click here for HOMILIES - YEAR C