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


1. Homilies - Sundays of Advent                  Each Monday, we will try to post the homily for the following w/e on this Homepage.  (See previous homilies below)   

SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT – YEAR B by Sr. Anna Beirne sscc 

How many times have we heard it said: 2020 “is a year like no other.” When the Covad virus arrived in our country last March no one ever thought it could bring such devastating consequences; total lock down for three months of all but essential services; loss of life; economic consequences; mental health issues and family difficulties.

After a short reprieve we are now in total lock down again until December 1st As you read this, it may well be that some of the restrictions will have eased somewhat; however we are already hearing that this is going to be “a Christmas like no other”...which for many can mean an end to a frenzy of Christmas shopping ...parties and
so much more, so that the real meaning of Christmas gets lost in all the rushing around and excitement.

We are living through a difficult and anxious time, but perhaps as we move into our second week of Advent we can use it to help us live this season in a deeper more meaningful way; grateful to be free from the usual pressures of the lead up to Christmas; Advent….a time of waiting, of preparation, invites us to live through this situation with patience, with hope, and a sense of expectation, so that we can look forward with joy in our hearts to the coming of the Child Jesus. As Christians and disciples of Jesus we can make this Advent a journey of conversion; stepping aside, to find our own desert place like John the Baptist, and open our minds and hearts to really hear what God is asking of us during this time; praying that the Advent readings will lead us to a deeper understanding of the great mystery of the Incarnation—the One who came “that we might have life and have it to the full”.

In our first reading Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11, we read of God saying to the prophet “Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God, speak tenderly to Jerusalem….” The Israelites, or God’s chosen people were beginning to get restless waiting for the promised Messiah; there were divisions among themselves; some going their own way; others listening to the prophets and trying to trust their promises, a bit like ourselves at this time. And again in Isaiah 43 “see the Lord comes with might,...he will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.” Those words, picture a God of tenderness and compassion, this is the same God who is journeying with us at this difficult time of Covid, the God who chose to be born a helpless child in a simple stable in Bethlehem. In the Second Epistle of Peter 3:8-14, he tells us: “the Lord is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance,” reminding us that there might be some things in our way of living, that might not be in keeping with the Gospel message.

The Gospel for today: Mark 1:1-8 opens with these beautiful words “The beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God”. As it is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah “I am sending my messenger ahead of you to prepare your way.” John the Baptist was the one sent to prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. “Repent and be baptised, prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths” That same message is as relevant today as it was then. So as we open ourselves to God’s healing power, and the challenges of the Advent readings, let us also remember in a special way, during our times of prayer, all who are suffering the consequences of the pandemic, remembering that Advent is a time of hope, and that God will hear our prayers. So as we make this Advent journey, with gratitude in our hearts for a God who is always ready to forgive, reaching out to us with compassion and love, may we be inspired by Mary who co-operated so generously in bringing to fulfilment God’s promise to send His Son, who himself told us “that I am the Light of the world; the one who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have light and life”. (John 8:12 ) As we come to celebrate the birth of the Christ child on Christmas day, may we be able to say with deep joy and thanksgiving in our hearts that: “this has been an Advent and a Christmas like no other”.

I would like to share with you a few lines entitled “Postscript,” which I read in a booklet entitled “Let Advent be Advent,” reflections and prayers for Advent by Fr. Vincent Sherlock, a priest in a Mayo Parish. It seems to sum up for me, the core message of Advent and it reads.

“They Walk to the Back of their Home...others they’re told on the way...the animals there too...breathing warmth on one so new...the man who had knocked and asked for a bed...the one that was almost sent on his way...but then...the change of heart...the shed was offered...the right thing to do of course...especially when they saw the young woman...a breath away from giving new could you leave them in the cold?...the two of them there longer two but three...on bended knee...he looked at his infant guest...thankful he’d done his best...and walked back to the house...she looked at him and smiled…’now’ aren't you glad you cleaned the shed?...he was...we are. It was the only way to prepare…...To clean...Be clean…… fit for a King. The shed is alive...shepherd boys...a young drummer...a smiling mother.”


1. Homilies - Sundays of Advent


Click here for HOMILIES - YEAR A & C