FIYH 89-91: Study and Further Reflection

A particular short-cut is a problem for preachers:

[89] One of the major temptations of students when they are assigned a paper is immediately to run to the “experts.” The same temptation afflicts preachers. All too often our preparation for a homily consists of looking up the lessons, reading them over quickly, and then turning to a commentary or a homily service to find out what they mean and what we might be able to say about them. By so doing we block out the possibility of letting these texts speak to us and to the concerns we share with a congtegation.


The bishops criticize the rationalization of the homily:

[90] Another danger in going to the commentaries too early is that we program ourselves for preaching which, in content and style, is academic rather than existential. We look for information about the texts that we can pass on to our hearers. We think of the text as a container of a hidden meaning that we have to discover and pry loose with the appropriate tools, rather than as a word spoken directly to us by the Lord. This approach to the text leads to preaching that is a word about something rather than a word, God’s Word, to someone.


The bishops give advice that is applicable to music ministry, lectors, and even catechetical ministries in which we presume thay an encounter with the Bible is primarily intellectual over spiritual.

[91] The process of personal reflection and interpretation, therefore, should go on for a couple of days without the aid of commentaries. We are our own interpreters first of all, and then when we do turn to the professional exegetes, we do so for the purpose of checking out the accuracy of our own interpretation. We will fre­quently receive new insights and ideas from the professionals, and these will be helpful to us. If we have allowed the texts to speak to us directly, we will be much better prepared to speak a word that is expressive of our own faith and in touch with the concerns of 0ur people. We will also be able to better recognize and use the insights the professional exegetes give us.           




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

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Fulfilled in Your Hearing, Liturgy, USCCB documents. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to FIYH 89-91: Study and Further Reflection

  1. FrMichael says:

    Hmm, I’m going to try to follow the advice of n. 91 this week and see what happens. I certainly plead guilty to be a Monday-morning reader of the NJBC and other exegetical materials for the upcoming Sunday.

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