Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary - Homilies


Palm Sunday
Fr. Jonathan L. Reardon
March 20th, 2016
Year C

Elisabeth Leseur was a Frenchwoman who died in 1914. She was a devout Catholic, married to an atheist who teased and criticized her for her faith. She offered up all of the sufferings, both ridicule that she endured for her husband and a painful form of cancer. She made up her mind to pour herself out for her husband and to respond to his lack of love with a greater love. She wrote in her diary: “Let us beware: nothing is so delicate and so sacred as the human soul; nothing is so quickly bruised. Let each one of our words and deeds contain a principle of life that, penetrating other spirits, will communicate light and strength and will reveal God to them.” 

There is an interesting line in the second reading of the Mass today from St. Paul. He tells us that Christ “emptied himself.” The expression identifies the extreme humility of the Son of God. A humility based on His passionate love for even those who rejected Him. It is also a direct reference to His suffering and death. Christ emptied Himself, He held nothing back, so that He could fill us with His overwhelming divine love.

How do we respond to such love? Elizabeth Leseuer provides just one example among the many saints of our time – though she is not a canonized saint – of how to imitate this love, self-emptying of Christ. She is a witness to us of what it means to truly love, to give rather than take. She also teaches us something about our souls. She reminds us of the delicate and sacred nature of our souls. That in this self-emptying we find a remedy for the damage we do to our souls via sin. One way to express our own self-giving is by emptying ourselves in confession. In the confessional, we empty ourselves, we pour out of ourselves all that is bad, all the damage that sin has done to our weak souls and in that gesture of humility, we find and receive forgiveness, we are strengthened by the grace of God to avoid sin in the future, we find an even greater love that heals us – that which is left emptied is filled by God. As Pope Francis has noted, when we open ourselves in the confessional, we make room for mercy; we make room for God. It is not too late then, to receive this grace. We are entering into the holiest week in which we remember how God emptied Himself for love of us. Perhaps we can respond to His love, if we have not done so already, by emptying out ourselves in confession in order to make room in our souls to receive that gift of love on Easter morning.


Fr. Jon Reardon

Rev. Jonathan L. Reardon is a priest for the diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts.
He serves at Sacred Heart Parish in Pittsfield, MA.

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