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

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 post the homily for the following w/e on this Homily Homepage.    

For the Jews at the time of Jesus, His concept of forgiveness would have been fairly radical. The law was about retaliation “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. The Old Testament relationships of love your neighbour and hate your enemy, in the teaching of Jesus became “Love your enemies”. Jesus, as it were, took the Old Testament law and turned it around. He not only taught forgiveness, but it was evident in his life. In Gethsemane – he healed the ear of the servant whose ear Peter had cut off. Many of his talks and parables were on forgiveness – the unforgiving servant: Peter asked “How many times do we forgive” and Jesus replied “Seventy times Seven” which means innumerable. We cannot limit our forgiveness.

I am sure you are well aware of the story of the two prisoners, who met years after their release. One had made something of his life after he left prison, but the other was holding revenge in his heart towards one of the guards – they both had the same experience and struggle, but handled it differently. Nelson Mandela wrote “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.” Refusing to forgive can keep us in prison, but each of us holds the key and we have to choose to be free or to stay in prison.

Forgiveness is not condoning what has happened, or suggesting that what was done was acceptable. It is not excusing the person. Forgiveness implies that the other person has done wrong, but I still forgive. It is not tolerating what has happened. I can forgive while it is not something to be tolerated. It is not forgetting. If I am deeply hurt, I cannot forget. But we can confuse forgiving and forgetting. There is a way of remembering. We can remember facts, but let go of resentment, hurt and anger that came at the time. There is a simple decision to be made. Am I willing or unwilling to forgive, to let go of my anger, resentment and hold on to it. Am I ready to live with the consequences of not forgiving, of being resentful, angry, bitter, wanting to seek revenge? The one who continues to suffer is the one who refuses to forgive.

Look at how God forgives us. The Prodigal Son (Lk 15:11-32) is a story of a father and how he receives back his son. There is nothing about conditions. It is the kind of risk God takes with us every day. God forgives without conditions. Forgiveness allows us to leave the past in the past and live in the present. I acknowledge what has happened, but I am not going to be controlled by it.

Forgiveness allows my heart to heal and to be happy. For me the main reason to forgive is to allow healing in my heart from resentment, deep hurts, and bitterness and to replace them with peace and happiness. Let us take a few moments to consider have I ever seen or experienced in my life or the lives of others? And remember one important thing that we often forget: God forgives you, so do not forget to forgive yourself.


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.