SUNDAY HOMILIES FOR ADVENT

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. 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.      

FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY – YEAR C by Sr Anna Beirne sscc.

Today we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord. It is celebrated with great solemnity in many countries and is the day when gifts are given rather than Christmas day. Here in Ireland it is sometimes referred to as “little Christmas” or “women’s Christmas”; in Irish “Nolaig na Mna”. I wonder how many of us really understand the real significance of todays feast.

For a moment I invite you to reflect on your understanding of the word Epiphany….it means to reveal or to make known. In the context of today’s Gospel reading Matthew tells us about how God revealed himself to the Magi; we are all pretty familiar with the story itself but we don’t always see how it may relate to our own lives. The magi, three kings or three wise men as they are sometimes known by came from Persia; they were pagans; maybe astrologers who studied the stars who suddenly noticed a particularly bright star; their curiosity was roused ; they may even have heard that a king or Messiah was to be born in Jerusalem; so great was the urge within them that they left the familiar, regardless of the risks involved and followed the star. It led them to Jerusalem where they found the child with Mary his mother, “and falling down they adored him”. Their courage and fearlessness was greatly rewarded, God revealed himself to them through Jesus.

There is also another important message for us in the readings for today which is particularly relevant for our present world. Matthew in this gospel story reminds us that the Gospel message is for all people no matter what nationality race or creed if they are willing to embrace it; God’s love reaches out to all and is not for a chosen few. This is also reflected in the reading from Isaiah 60 which reads ..”your light has come….Nations shall walk by your light and kings by your shining radiance..”. Paul also speaks of how he was entrusted with the mission of spreading the Gospel. “which means that pagans now share the same inheritance”.

While the readings for this feast remind us that God’s message has the power to unite, evil as exemplified in Herod can be divisive. As committed Christians we are called to share the Gospel message of love. When we think of the meaning of the word epiphany maybe todays feast can serve as an “epiphany” moment for each of us; God is always present in our daily lives but it won’t be in any extraordinary way. God can make his presence felt in the most ordinary things of life, The Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh wrote, “God is in the bits and pieces of life..” But we have to be looking for them or we might miss them: a kind word; a smile a word of encouragement, a pat on the shoulder can be uplifting for ourselves and others.  Perhaps this feast can be a reminder to us of how much, especially in our present word, people need to experience God’s loving presence.

Just as the kings had the wisdom and courage to follow the star wherever it led them I must ask myself “do I have the courage, wisdom and faith to allow God to guide and direct me? On this feast of the Epiphany of Our lord we pray for ourselves and all who are searching for God that we may recognise him in the bits and pieces of our lives.

END

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

 

 

FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY – YEAR C by Sr Anna Beirne sscc. Today we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord. It is celebrated with great solemnity in many countries and is the day when gifts are given rather than Christmas day. Here in Ireland it is sometimes referred to as “little Christmas” or “women’s Christmas”; in Irish “Nolaig na Mna”. I wonder how many of us really understand the real significance of todays feast. For a moment I invite you to reflect on your understanding of the word Epiphany….it means to reveal or to make known. In the context of todays Gospel reading Matthew tells us about how God revealed himself to the Magi; we are all pretty familiar with the story itself but we don’t always see how it may relate to our own lives. The magi, three kings or three wise men as they are sometimes known by came from Persia; they were pagans; maybe astrologers who studied the stars who suddenly noticed a particularly bright star; their curiosity was roused ; they may even have heard that a king or Messiah was to be born in Jerusalem; so great was the urge within them that they left the familiar, regardless of the risks involved and followed the star. It led them to Jerusalem where they found the child with Mary his mother, “and falling down they adored him”. Their courage and fearlessness was greatly rewarded, God revealed himself to them through Jesus. There is also another important message for us in the readings for today which is particularly relevant for our present world. Matthew in this gospel story reminds us that the Gospel message is for all people no matter what nationality race or creed if they are willing to embrace it; God’s love reaches out to all and is not for a chosen few. This is also reflected in the reading from Isaiah 60 which reads ..”your light has come….Nations shall walk by your light and kings by your shining radiance..”. Paul also speaks of how he was entrusted with the mission of spreading the Gospel. “which means that pagans now share the same inheritance”. While the readings for this feast remind us that God’s message has the power to unite, evil as exemplified in Herod can be divisive. As committed Christians we are called to share the Gospel message of love. When we think of the meaning of the word epiphany maybe todays feast can serve as an “epiphany” moment for each of us; God is always present in our daily lives but it won’t be in any extraordinary way. God can make his presence felt in the most ordinary things of life, The Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh wrote, “God is in the bits and pieces of life..” But we have to be looking for them or we might miss them: a kind word; a smile a word of encouragement, a pat on the shoulder can be uplifting for ourselves and others. Perhaps this feast can be a reminder to us of how much, especially in our present word, people need to experience God’s loving presence. Just as the kings had the wisdom and courage to follow the star wherever it led them I must ask myself “do I have the courage, wisdom and faith to allow God to guide and direct me?. On this feast of the Epiphany of Our lord we pray for ourselves and all who are searching for God that we may recognise him in the bits and pieces of our lives.