FIYH Introduction 4: This Intimate Link

Fulfilled in Your Hearing is devoted to the Sunday homily at Mass, but the bishops acknowledge the importance of preaching in the other sacraments. They also note that the sacrament of baptism makes every believer responsible for the presentation of the Word of God in the world. That would seem to include in the context of the Christian community:

This intimate link between preaching and the celebration of the sacraments, especially of the Sunday Eucharist, is what we intend to address in this document on preaching. We recognize that preaching is not limited to priests. Deacons are also ordained ministers of the Word. Indeed, the proclamation of the Word of God is the responsibility of the entire Christian community by virtue of the sacrament of baptism. Moreover, we recognize that preaching is not limited to the Eucharist, and we are pleased to support the ways in which more and more Catholics are celebrating the power of God’s Word in evangelistic gatherings, in the catechu­menate, and in groups devoted to the study of the Bible and to prayer. We also recognize that for the vast majority of Catholics the Sunday homily is the normal and frequently the formal way in which they hear the Word of God proclaimed. For these Catholics the Sunday homily may well be the most decisive factor in determining the depth of their faith and strengthening the level of their commit­ment to the church.

Where does this lay proclamation or preaching take place? Not in very exalted settings; the ones listed include the catechumenate, Bible studies, and prayer groups. One might think that the Church’s preachers, namely its priests and deacons, might be formed and discerned in these crucibles.

Anyway, the importance of the Sunday homily for ordinary faith is reinforced in FIYH’s introduction here.

(All texts from Fulfilled in Your Hearing are copyright © 1982 USCCB. All rights reserved. Used with permission.)

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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2 Responses to FIYH Introduction 4: This Intimate Link

  1. “We also recognize that for the vast majority of Catholics the Sunday homily is the normal and frequently the formal way in which they hear the Word of God proclaimed. For these Catholics the Sunday homily may well be the most decisive factor in determining the depth of their faith and strengthening the level of their commit­ment to the church.”

    Considering the above quote, I am surprised at how willingly some assemblies tolerate less than quality preaching week after week.

  2. Deacon Eric says:

    Well, I wouldn’t say people tolerate bad preaching willingly. More often than not, they don’t have a choice, and they’ve come to regard the homily as a time for reading the parish bulletin. The contrast comes when they hear a good homily, and you can see the gratitude and enthusiasm with which they respond.

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