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


5. Homilies Mar Ap            Each Monday, we will try to post the homily for the following w/e on this Homepage.  (See previous homilies below)  

FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT – Year B by Fr Derek Laverty, sscc

Do you ever think you will see such a day? As I pen this Easter reflection the memory of Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq is still quite vivid. I found the coverage of his trip quite moving for a number of reasons: the visit was both historically significant and hugely symbolic. This was the first ever visit by a Pope to Iraq. To make the visit the Pope had to set aside his age and health and instead rely on faith and courage. Seeing the footage reminded me of the long-term suffering of the people of Iraq and of the dwindling Christian communities. I was also conscious of the huge efforts to ensure the security of the Pope. And then there were the pictures of the Pope standing in the middle of the ruins of Mosul and of
his meetings with the Shiite grand ayatollah and the father of the young Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, whose body washed up on a Turkish beach six years ago. Whilst there were many powerful and moving moments during the trip, the same visit was characterised by so much joy visible in the faces of so many people who understood that the Pope had come to visit them. Did they ever think they would see such a day?
One could ask the same question about Mary of Magdala and the first disciples. Did they ever think they would see such a day? Accepting first the testimony of Mary and then the testimony of Simon Peter and the beloved disciple, they came to understand that Jesus had risen from the dead, so that he could be with them and in the world in a new way. Thus, they finally understood that his life and death were just as essential as his rising. To Paul’s claim that: “if Christ has not been raised, then in vain is my preaching and in vain is your faith,” we can add how it was first necessary that Jesus, the Son of God, who became one like us, experienced the fullness of human life and death.
Pope Emeritus Benedict in his Encyclical on hope (Spe Salve) said that one of the distinguishing marks of Christians is the fact that we have a future. It is not that we know the details of what awaits us, but in general, we hope and trust that our lives will not end in emptiness. Our faith, our trust in the Resurrection of Jesus is the basis for our optimism. It is the conviction, the sense, the intuition even that something good and better awaits us not just every day but at the end of our days. It is this mystery of faith that keeps us believing, hoping and loving through life: “Dying he destroyed our death, rising he restored our life, Lord Jesus, come in glory.”
In the context of COVID and getting older, I notice how my thoughts about Easter are becoming more serious! What do I really believe? What am I hoping will happen when my day comes? How do I imagine the afterlife to be? I trust, I hope, like Jesus, that my last breath will usher me into a life that I have sometimes, albeit briefly, already experienced here on earth. I am sure we have all had a moment or moments in our life where we have really felt “this is heaven”! I think those little foretastes are indicators of how heaven might be.
If I may briefly return to Benedict, in that same encyclical on hope he wrote something that has stayed with me ever since and is a real comfort to me. He described eternal life not as “an unending succession of days” in which we live the life as we know it now but rather as “the supreme moment of satisfaction” in which all our questions drop away and we want for nothing. Drawing our last breath leads us into what he calls “the ocean of infinite love”. This, surely, is what is at the heart of our Easter celebrations: Easter is first and foremost the Father’s welcome of Jesus back into the ocean of infinite love. Jesus, extends this same welcome to us both in the here and now and in the hereafter. As Saint Paul puts it: “At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but the time will come when we will be face to face. Meanwhile we live our life believing, hoping and loving, and the greatest of these is loving.” (1 Cor. 13:12)
So may this Easter bless you with moments in which you feel the closeness and tenderness of God, and may such moments be for you a source of strength and reassurance for the road ahead.


1. Homilies - Sundays of Advent

2. Homilies for January 

3. Homilies for Jan Feb

4. Homilies Feb Mar

5. Homilies Mar Ap

Click here for HOMILIES - YEAR A & C