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Homily Helps (Cycle A)

Here you will find resources for homilists, bulletins, and other materials that help to integrate the rich insights of Laudato Si' and Christian care for creation into Sunday Mass. These will include the following:
  • Highlights from the Scripture readings of the day
  • Relevant quotations from Laudato Si'
  • Brief commentary
  • Illustrations and anecdotes
  • Sample applications
  • Petitions to include in the Prayers of the Faithful
  • Bulletin notes

These homily helps are written by the Integral Faith Team, which is a working group of the Association of United States Catholic Priests. 

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If you have questions or comments, please email
Versión de esta página en español aquí.
For the homily helps for Cycle C 2016, click here.

Advent, Cycle B (2017) 

During Advent, we look forward to an event that transforms that very meaning of human existence. Through the "yes" of a humble young woman, the Logos of God came to dwell among us, becoming intimately and irrevocably united with our humanity and with all creation. As we look forward to the birth of the Christ once again, we are aware that we, our communities, and the Earth itself all look forward to the possibility of new life.  

To view the homily helps and other resources for a given Sunday or feast day, click the link for the appropriate date below: 

November in Ordinary Time, Cycle A (2017) 

The scripture readings for this month challenge us to enter into a deeper relationship with God, following Jesus Christ with our two feet of discipleship: charity and justice. This is not an optional or peripheral commitment for the Church. Neither can it be reduced to a private dimension of one's life. Action in defense of human dignity and in support of restorative justice and peace are at the core of our faith. 

To view the homily helps and other resources for a given Sunday or feast day, click the link for the appropriate date below: 

October in Ordinary Time, Cycle A ( 2017)

During October, two themes stand out in the readings of the season. First, prophetic promises of redemption imaged in terms of a great feast are echoed in the parables of Jesus that announce that the time of fulfillment is at hand. These parables challenge the listener to respond to God's invitation. A second theme concerns the mounting tension between Jesus and the Jewish authorities. As we reflect on what is happening to our common home, do we witness fulfillment or disillusion? And can we learn from the example of Jesus, who stood up to both popular opinion and the elite of his day to announce, not the plans of human beings, but God's plans?

To view the homily helps and other resources for a given Sunday or feast day, click the link for the appropriate date below: 

September in Ordinary Time, Cycle A (2017)

The Scripture readings throughout September encourage us to expand our vision. The prophets remind us that the poor and those in need are are also members of the community. The parables of Jesus challenge us to see as God sees.

The commentary for the Sundays in this month draws on the themes of the common good and "integral ecology" that Pope Francis stresses in Laudato Si' as one way of explaining our vision in light of the signs of the times.

To view the homily helps and other resources for a given Sunday or feast day, click the link for the appropriate date below.

August in Ordinary Time, Cycle A (2017)

Our readings for the month of August begin with the account of the Transfiguration, where God reveals to Peter, James, and John that He entrusts His authority to Jesus, who is both the Messiah sent to Israel and the Lord and Savior sent to all humanity. During the Sundays which follow, we then reflect on the authority entrusted by God to human beings and by Christ to the Christian community. How do we exercise the creativity and power entrusted to us in the way we care for our neighbor and for God's creation, our common home?

To view the homily helps and other resources for a given Sunday or feast day, click the link for the appropriate date below.

July in Ordinary Time, Cycle A (2017)

The scripture readings for this month coalesce around the themes of hospitality and the promise of divine blessing. They also lift up the critical importance of a holistic, sacramental view of God's creation. Such a vision reflects the ancient tradition of the Church. It also highlights our contemporary, moral imperative to act with charity and justice toward all members of earth's community of life. "The Gospel of Creation," chapter two of Pope Francis's encyclical Laudato Si', provides very helpful insights for the homilist to visit these themes from a new vantage point.

June in Ordinary Time, Cycle A (2017)

During the season following Easter, the Church gives us the opportunity to deepen our experience of the new life that flows from the Resurrection of Jesus. 
  • Pentecost: Through Jesus we experience new hope and new life in the Spirit.
  • Trinity Sunday: And as a result, we now experience God as Father, Son, and Spirit, the Trinity that is the source of all creation.
While we then return to "ordinary time," nothing is ever the same again.
  • Trinity Sunday (June 11)
  • Feast of Corpus Christi (June 18)
  • 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time (June 25)

Easter, Cycle A (2017)

Easter is the celebration of the new life offered to us in the risen Jesus. With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we are empowered to change our personal lives and confront the collective problems that we face in society. In Chapter VI of Laudato Si', Pope Francis exhorts us to study the world around us and to educate ourselves and others regarding the real state of our world. He calls us to foster a new spirituality that is personally holy, fraternally responsible, and respectful of the Earth. And he challenges us to change our lifestyles in a way that will bring about real renewal. 

Lent, Cycle A (2017)

Lent is our annual opportunity to refresh the spiritual dimension of our existence and to renew our identity as persons baptized in Christ. It starts each year sometime in the dark midst of Winter but ends in Spring, when our seemingly dormant world brightens and again comes to life. During this time we experience the core cycle of our faith in all of our senses – the cycle thru Death to Resurrection. What we see and hear, touch, smell and taste enables us to know that something new is happening. Earth will continue to warm us and feed us, but we ourselves must tend with care to bring forth that boon. 

Lent is an extended time when we are challenged to do the same with the spirit God has breathed into our bodies. We are to 'repent' over a period of 40 days. We are summoned to once again align our values, attitudes, and behaviors with those of Christ. During this time of conversion we pay special attention to the "sensual dimensions" of Scripture – the dimension that appeals to entire incarnate being – and we can see God's summons to new life reflected in creation itself. Of course, that means seeing with the eyes of faith, and in its call to ecological and social repentance, Laudato Si' itself also calls us to a change of our way of seeing our world and appreciating it, a change in mind and in heart. 

Chapter 3 of Pope Francis' call to Care for our Common Home lifts up a particular dimension of this opportunity that lent affords to amend our mindset: Are we helping or hurting the environment – and so ourselves – by the way we think and live?

February in Ordinary Time, Cycle A (2017)

God summons to be holy, to follow his way, a way of justice to others and righteousness of life. This summons was announced by Moses, by the Prophets, and by Jesus. More than a prophet, Jesus also promises to walk beside us and support us in the Way. In our world many ponderous forces seem to threaten the poor, the weak, and creation itself. With Jesus by our side, let us renew our commitment to travel the path of discipleship. 

January in Ordinary Time, Cycle A (2017)

Humanity and all creation are products of God's love; we are invited to be co-responisble with God in caring for our own generation and future generations, and for the planet and the universe which are our home. 

Christmas Season, Cycle A (2016-17)

Christmas is a time of celebration. The moment prepared by God since the dawn of the world has arrived. When we compare how we celebrate Christmas today with the accounts of the birth of Jesus in the Gospel, we are struck by the simplicity of that momentous day. We behold Mary and her openness to God's will, Joseph and his determination to stand by Mary, and an infant who is the living sacrament of God's love for us. There were no Martha Stewart Living Generous George Festive Mouse Ornaments, no special order organic berry Christmas cakes, no designer cashmere scarves from Bloomingdale's. During this Christmas season, let us focus on what is essential.  

Advent, Cycle A (2016) 

During this darkest time of the year we turn to the light. In homes and businesses and city streets, when lights are lit, we are reassured. In our churches we light candles on the Advent Wreath, adding an additional light each week to symbolize our certainty that soon the days will begin to lengthen and the light will return. These small lights are like the poetry of Isaiah, written during a dark time in the kingdom of Judah. Every Sunday in Advent we read Isaiah's words because they mirror our hope for the justice, peace, and harmony that only God can bring about in our world. We await the birth of a child who will be called Emmanuel, "God with us." We await the new day that child brings to our distressed and despoiled earth.

In his day John the Baptist was "a voice of one crying out in the wilderness." In our day we have the example of Pope Francis, who calls our attention to the plight of the poor, to our own need for hope, and to the ruin inflicted upon the Earth itself. Indeed, the Pope reminds us, "The human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together." As Mary and Joseph cared for and protected the Christ Child, we can follow their example and care for our world, seeing Christ in the poor and present in all things. Indeed, Pope Francis eloquently affirms that presence in every living creature and that respect for nature is part of authentic Christian spirituality. This Advent let us open our eyes and ears to the ways in which God comes to us each day.