The importance of preaching is high, especially the liturgical homily.
43. This evangelizing preaching takes on many forms, and zeal will inspire the reshaping of them almost indefinitely. In fact there are innumerable events in life and human situations which offer the opportunity for a discreet but incisive statement of what the Lord has to say in this or that particular circumstance. It suffices to have true spiritual sensitivity for reading God’s message in events. But at a time when the liturgy renewed by the Council has given greatly increased value to the Liturgy of the Word, it would be a mistake not to see in the homily an important and very adaptable instrument of evangelization. Of course it is necessary to know and put to good use the exigencies and the possibilities of the homily, so that it can acquire all its pastoral effectiveness. But above all it is necessary to be convinced of this and to devote oneself to it with love. This preaching, inserted in a unique way into the Eucharistic celebration, from which it receives special force and vigor, certainly has a particular role in evangelization, to the extent that it expresses the profound faith of the sacred minister and is impregnated with love. The faithful assembled as a Paschal Church, celebrating the feast of the Lord present in their midst, expect much from this preaching, and will greatly benefit from it provided that it is simple, clear, direct, well-adapted, profoundly dependent on Gospel teaching and faithful to the magisterium, animated by a balanced apostolic ardor coming from its own characteristic nature, full of hope, fostering belief, and productive of peace and unity. Many parochial or other communities live and are held together thanks to the Sunday homily, when it possesses these qualities.
Let us add that, thanks to the same liturgical renewal, the Eucharistic celebration is not the only appropriate moment for the homily. The homily has a place and must not be neglected in the celebration of all the sacraments, at paraliturgies, and in assemblies of the faithful. It will always be a privileged occasion for communicating the Word of the Lord.
I think preachers and liturgists can see the homily operating on several levels. Or needing to. We have seekers coming to the Sunday (and other) assemblies. How much preaching is geared to first-time hearers of the Word?
The next basic level is acknowledging the message is for a “Paschal Church.” That means a message moving out of the preconciliar emphasis on the Good Friday salvific aspect and expanding to the whole Paschal Mystery. The Eucharistic Prayers help with this orientation, but preaching can also direct and guide believers as well.
For communities without a priest, it would seem that some message based on the Scriptures is vital, even if the fussbudgets among us are disinclined to call it a homily.
Whatever term we use, the basic effort is to connect the Word of God proclaimed and preached to the daily life of people. It’s important to consider that some of this effort should be directed to those who are new to the faith, those who have yet to hear the full evangelical message of Christ.
Anything any of you are seeing in EN 43? Feel free to comment.
Not sure what the genesis might be for the opposition to the stay-at-home dad. But a seminary prof went mano a mano with such a father over it. Owen Strachan on men’s work:
It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be long. It may bring injury to your body, but it means that’s part of – ironically here, because we’re talking about a curse – that that’s ironically what is going to bring God glory.
As a person in ministry, I’ll readily concede that my vocation and job is not ordinarily physical work that matches the curse of the Fall. This past Sunday I did more physical work hauling things to and from temporary worship, and moving around a lot more behind the scenes at liturgy. I was quite tired by the end of my day. But the exertion is minimal compared to the manual work I did working my way through college: outdoor yard work, plus a few summers working for a catering company.
Blogger and stay-at-home father Matt Peregoy:
I think we struggle with identity as at-home dads when we tie our identity to only being a financial provider. If I claim to be a follower of Christ, I am called to shed that identity and find my identity in Him.
Seems about right to me.
BLS 85-90 covers how to provide for the congregation or assembly. Remember that though it seems these terms are used interchangeably, assembly is generally used for the inclusion of ministers and congreegation both. First up, the US bishops emphasize visibility:
§ 85 § The location set aside for the people will convey their role within the liturgical assembly.(GIRM 294) The members of the congregation should be able to see the ministers at the altar, the ambo, and the chair.
They do not mention the visibility of the congregation by the ministers, though. I recently heard a priest remark about how important that is for him, to be able to see the faces of the people while he preaches.
§ 86 § Since the liturgy requires various postures and movements, the space and furniture for the congregation should accommodate them well.(GIRM 311) Styles of benches, pews, or chairs can be found that comfortably accommodate the human form. Kneelers or kneeling cushions should also be provided so that the whole congregation can easily kneel when the liturgy calls for it. Parishes will want to choose a seating arrangement that calls the congregation to active participation and that avoids any semblance of a theater or an arena. It is also important that the seating plan provide spaces for an unimpeded view of the sanctuary by people in wheelchairs or with walkers. Experience indicates that space in the front or at the sides of the church is better than in the rear where a standing congregation obscures the view of those seated in wheelchairs at the back of the church.
This is good, but there is a thin line between traditional set-ups and theater in terms of reinforcing the notion of audience and performers. It’s one reason why I think worship with antiphonal seating is optimal, once those unfamiliar with it work through any unease. Also laudable is the concern for those with mobility issues, and providing for them in places other than the last row.
All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.