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

All homilies for Advent up to the third Sunday in Ordinary time can be accessed by clicking here.     Each week on a Monday, we will post the homily for the following w/e on this Homily Homepage.      

THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT – YEAR C by Bishop Brendan Comiskey sscc.

You may or may not remember or have heard of Ed Koch. He was mayor of New York and Jewish. He visited Ireland one time in the company of the then Archbishop John O’Connor with whom he was famously friendly, and their destiny was Knock. I was thinking of him when I was asked to write this homily. He was famous for a comment he made again and again in his speeches. “How am I doing?”  In today’s Gospel, John the Baptist is conducting something like one of the “penance services that will be taking place during Advent in a great many of our parishes. He was helping the people in their examination of conscience. After they had expressed their sorrow for what they had done wrong, and had explained to them an amended way of living, John or one of his assistants would plunge them into the waters of the Jordan. The symbolism was powerful. They would be washed clean and emerge from the waters as “new” people. The people felt so privileged to be there that day that they thought that that the Messiah had arrived in the person of John. John also knew that something wonderful was taking place but realized that something infinitely greater was to come very soon. John confessed that he was baptizing with water; Jesus would soon baptize people “with the Holy Spirit and with fire”. Those of us attending penance services in our churches this Advent will be baptized “with the Holy Spirit and with fire”. How many of us have the faintest inkling or awareness of what this means?

To be baptized mean to be “immersed in”, to be “plunged into”. John was immersing people, plunging people into water. He was also prophesying to an age to come (very soon) when Jesus would be immersing people, plunging people into God. There is so much more involved here that the forgiveness of sins, however wonderful this forgiveness is. And what is the meaning of this talk bout fire. To understand this we need to remind our selves of the great passion in the life of Christ: “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” From earliest time fire marked the presence of God. He accompanied his people in their long journey in the desert as a cloud of fire by day and fire by night. His appearance to Moses was in the form of a burning bush and in our own days the great feast of Pentecost is all about tongues of fire. Is it any wonder that we ask God “to enkindle in us the fire of his divine love”? That we be on fire for God is, therefore, the deepest wish in the heart of Christ. This is so often represented in religious art by the Sacred Heart exposed and on fire. Perhaps the intensity of Christ’s desire for hearts on fire is best illustrated by his loathing for hearts in which the fire has gone out, lukewarm hearts/ “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other. So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to vomit you out of my mouth” (Revelations 3:15-16). How am I doing, Lord?


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