Another proposition from the Bishops’ Synod, this one on Homiletic updating and “Directory on the Homily.” Let’s see what the synod forwarded to Pope Benedict:
The homily that updates the proclaimed Word: “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). It leads to the mystery celebrated, invites to mission and shares the joys and sorrows, the hopes and fears of the faithful, thus disposing the assembly both to the profession of faith (Creed) as well as the universal prayer of the Mass.
A homily at every Mass–every Mass with people at it, that is. Have a look at these three questions that follow:
There should be a homily in all Masses “cum populo,” even during the week. It is necessary that preachers (bishops, priests, deacons) prepare themselves in prayer, so that they preach with conviction and passion. They must ask themselves three questions:
— What do the proclaimed readings say?
— What do they say to me?
— What must I say to the community, taking into account its concrete situation?
I don’t quite agree with the order here, but maybe you have something to say. In my experience with Lectio Divina, the first reflection is to receive the word or phrase or message from the Scripture. Addressing what the proclaimed readings say usually means looking to the Scripture scholars. In tapping the intellectual side first, there’s a danger (and I know it) of glossing over one’s own insights.
The preacher should above all allow himself to be questioned first by the Word of God he proclaims. The homily must be nourished by doctrine and transmit the teaching of the Church to strengthen the faith, call to conversion in the framework of the celebration and prepare for the action of the Eucharistic paschal mystery.
To help the preacher in the ministry of the Word, and in continuity with the teaching of the post-synodal apostolic “Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis” (No. 46), the synodal fathers desire the elaboration of a “Directory on the Homily,” which should show, together with the principles of homiletics and of the art of communication, the content of the biblical topics that appear in the lectionaries that are used in the liturgy.
I heard about this homiletic directory. I’m not sure it’s a great idea in the sense that it might become a tool for lazy homilists. We already have lazy homilists plunking down great “concepts” that lack connections to personal reflection and the needs of the faith community.