Laity and clergy suffer because of homilies
Diners frequent to their favorite restaurants because they are satisfied by its specialty. Church goers also expect a satisfying homily.
For the many, a good homily need not be an entertaining one. It is rather God’s message made alive in the life of the listener. It touches the soul. It makes the faithful talk about it because they can relate to it.
But if a homily goes nowhere, the congregation begins to enjoy their siesta. If the homily is just a mere repetition of the same words as in the readings, many people feel their time and money are being wasted.
“The homily is the touchstone for judging a pastor’s closeness and ability to communicate to his people. We know that the faithful attach great importance to it, and that both they and their ordained ministers suffer because of homilies: the laity from having to listen to them and the clergy from having to preach them!” (Evangelii Gaudium 135)
Pope Francis is saddened by this case. For him, “the homily can actually be an intense and happy experience of the Spirit, a consoling encounter with God’s word, a constant source of renewal and growth.” (Evangelii Gaudium 135)
While the best homily is done not in eloquent words but in modeling, this year of the clergy and consecrated persons can be an opportune time for the clergy and those given the gift of preaching to upgrade their way of delivering homilies. Declared by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, the year 2018 can pose a challenge for servant-leaders of the Church to be renewed in word and in deed. One indicator for renewal among the clergy can be gauged in the way they prepare and deliver their sermon.
Whether we like it or not, the homily takes an important role in the life of the clergy. It offers ample opportunities for an experience of the holy. The humble preacher is remembered by his words of wisdom inspired by the Holy Spirit being used by the Lord to tell His message. To serve the table of the Word is indeed a noble gift given to a chosen few. How we wish preachers make good use of it every time they celebrate the Eucharist.
“Whoever wants to preach must be the first to let the word of God move him deeply and become incarnate in his daily life. In this way preaching will consist in that activity, so intense and fruitful, which is communicating to others what one has contemplated”. (Evangelii Gaudium 150)