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

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.   

 Each week on a Monday, we will try to post the homily for the following w/e on this Homily Homepage.    

PALM SUNDAY – YEAR C by Fr Ultan Naughton sscc. 
A contemporary of Charles Dickens, a man named Charles MacKay published a book in 1841 called ‘Delusions and the Madness of Crowds’. It deals with how fickle people can be and how they can be buoyed up with enthusiasm for something initially, but then change their minds and easily be led astray or manipulated by people with different intent. 

And that’s exactly what happens with Jesus. We see a glimpse in the Gospel passage read at the beginning of Mass today as the procession with palms takes place, when the Pharisees say to Jesus ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples’. And Jesus answered ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out’. The Pharisees were already plotting against Jesus and our Gospel (Lk 22:14-23:56) reminds us that as Jesus was at the Last Supper, gathered with his disciples, he reminds them ‘here with me on this table is the
hand of the man who betrays me’.

We know that this man was Judas, and that he had been bought with 30 pieces of silver. He was unable to forgive himself for what he had done, with tragic consequences. But this manipulation of facts or people happens even today. It may be that we buy a particular newspaper’s editorial line, a TV pundits piece, a radio hosts personal opinion or we simply go with the crowd because we are unable or don’t want to make up our own minds. The very crowd on this Palm Sunday that are welcoming Jesus, throwing down branches and shouting ‘blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord’ as he enters Jerusalem, will be the very same people, who only a few days later, will be shouting: ‘crucify him, crucify him’.   Jesus enters Jerusalem as a king, but a servant king, riding on a colt. It is interesting that on this day that we celebrate Jesus’ entrance to Jerusalem, we also hear the account of his passion in our Gospel. We all know what happens: lies, deceit, cunning, abandonment, lashes, agony, thorns and ultimately His crucifixion. Jesus had previously reminded us that if anyone ‘wants to be a follower of mine, they must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me’ (Mt 16:24).

So the next time you are faced with a choice of rejecting Jesus and his message in favour of following the crowd or being manipulated by someone else, think of Jesus. Think of what he has asked us to do; to pick up our cross and follow him. He has led the way. Each and every one of us needs God’s grace to stay true to Him in our lives. He gives us that grace. Remember He always gives us what we need, not what we want. That same Lord, as we are reminded in our first reading, ‘has given us a disciples tongue so that I may know how to reply to the wearied, he provides me with speech… the Lord opens my ears, the Lord comes to my help’ (Isaiah 50:4-7).

Isaiah relies on the strength and support of God to get him through many difficulties. This calls for sacrifice in our life, and so our prayer may indeed be the same as Jesus, from our psalm today: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me’. St Paul, in our second reading, takes us beyond the crucifixion scene to see the importance of the inner attitude of Jesus, which are his obedience to the Father and his selfgiving. He poured out his life for us, forgiving us as he was dying on the cross (‘Father, forgive them, they know not what they do’) and inviting us to be faithful children of the Father, just as he was the beloved Son (Father, into your hands I commend my spirit).

And so as we begin this Holy Week: let us always be aware of the manipulation that goes on around us and how we can be trapped into it, without even realising; let us be aware of the crosses that knock us down in our lives and stop us from living authentic Christian lives; let us too not always focus on ourselves but on others who are struggling and carrying crosses so that we can, like Simon of Cyrene, find a way to help them carry theirs; let us too reflect on our commitment and faithfulness to our Lenten promises which we commenced last Ash Wednesday; and finally let us reflect on the joy of Palm Sunday and the sadness of the Passion of Christ. Jesus hangs on the cross for us. What part of his cross are you prepared to carry for him?

Finally, recalling the title of the book mentioned at the beginning ‘Delusions and the Madness of Crowds’, let us not be led astray by ‘wolves in sheep clothing’, but model our lives more like Joseph of Arimathaea who we hear about at the end of the Gospel. He had so much to lose by following Jesus - his position, his wealth and his status. Yet he didn’t abandon Jesus, and especially not in His time of need. He didn’t succumb to the crowd. Like Joseph, we too need to be strong in faith no matter what the challenges are that we face.

As we enter Holy Week, let us be more like Joseph of Arimathaea as we live, like him, in the ‘hope of seeing the Kingdom of God’.


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.