Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary - Homilies


26th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Fr. Jonathan L. Reardon
September 28th, 2014
Year A

I don’t typically watch a lot of TV. The other night, however, I wasn’t tired so I turned on the TV hoping to find something boring so that I could drift into a peaceful sleep. I came across this show, “Married at First Sight.” I would like to note for the record that I have never heard of this show nor have I ever seen it. Something about it grabbed my attention but not in a good way. The host was interviewing couples 6 months after their marriage. First, he was talking to the wife of the first couple. Come to find out, none of her family supported her decision to marry “at first sight” and none of them even went to the wedding. She even admitted to having been brought up with strong Christian values – Baptist by tradition – yet still was going, as she put it: “to do what I want to do.” I didn’t watch the whole episode, since I thankfully fell asleep! I could surmise, however, that this was not a true marriage, there was no love involved… only the love of self. This is sin: placing yourself above others, thinking of yourself more than others, and being so selfish that you distance yourself even from those closest to you in order to get what you want.

This is what the tax collectors and prostitutes have done, they have distanced themselves from God, their religious traditions, their families and friends, etc. They have chosen lifestyles that only encourage destructive behavior. Yet, it is these ones that are entering the Kingdom and NOT the religious leaders – not the ones who are supposed to be educated in the ways of God. The sinners are changing their ways, like the first son in the parable and God is rewarding them.

How is this happening? How is that these wicked people are experiencing deep conversions? It seems to me that they are looking for something. They are looking for something in their sinful lives. They are searching for meaning, purpose, value and love but they are looking for it in all the wrong places. Until they come in contact with Jesus. When they have an encounter with God Himself they begin to find in Him precisely that for which they had been searching.

The same is true for ourselves, whether we realize it or not. We are all searching for those same things: meaning, purpose, value, and love in our lives. We too can get caught up in the selfishness of sinful acts thinking we will find it in one destructive behavior after another – much like the girl in that stupid TV show. More often than not, I see this more and more evident in those who over indulge in alcohol, drugs, and sexual promiscuity – as well as other sins of impurity. The overarching mentality is that it is all about me. And you might say to me: “well, we’re only having fun and it doesn’t mean anything.” But the problem is that it does mean something. Sin boasts of love of self and of a false sense of freedom. It is destructive behavior that puts distance between those whom you truly care for – and those who truly care for you – as well God. Furthermore, while doing damage to our human relationships and friendships, we do damage to our souls.

Yet we are not without hope! The message of the Gospel does not leave us hanging out to dry. When the wicked come in contact with God, they feel renewed, delivered, freed of the weight of their sins and mostly… loved. This is what moves them to repent and to conversion. And this is what gives us hope – that when we encounter the Lord we too are forgiven, we find meaning and purpose in our lives and we find that we are truly loved for who we are. We do not have to be someone that we are not. We do not have to give in to the pressures that lie beyond the walls of this building. We need only to come to Jesus to find our true worth and to find a true friend. But where do we find Him? in the Sacraments. In particular we find Him in the Sacrament of Penance – confession – and in the Eucharist most especially. In the Eucharist we are placed in the very presence of God and it is here where we encounter Him and His merciful love for us. Jesus gives us an exit strategy so that we don’t find ourselves moving away from Him but rather toward Him.

In light of the encouragement that Jesus gives us today, that we can always come to Him for forgiveness, let us make a firm resolve to amend and change anything that distances ourselves from Him. May we always find our true worth, dignity, purpose and meaning in Him and in relationships that help us grow closer to Him. May the Sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist be for us the means that helps us on this path of repentance and conversion.


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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