Monday, 27 January 2014

The homily and the "central fact of all reality"

The ever-evangelizing Christian Gospel—not our little "doings" and "tryings"—is ultimately what reality is about. Therefore, every Catholic homily must recurrently, continually, and unfailingly draw the attention of its hearers back to the central fact of all reality—God’s eternal love for and reconciliation of humanity in Jesus Christ—as the basis for everything else that is said and done ...

Ultimately, the problem with Gospel-empty homilies is that they unintentionally make Jesus Christ and the Church expendable. Everyone needs Christ and the Church for the Gospel and Eucharist. But nobody must have Christ and the Church for sentimental moralism. That can be found anywhere. Homilies without the Gospel thus advance the unintended but real effect of communicating that the Church is superfluous, just another chattering voice in the cacophony of cultural noise ...

So, those who prepare and deliver Catholic homilies must consciously work to make every single one explicitly Christocentric and thus Trinitarian. First and foremost, homilies must not be about what their listeners must do, but rather about what God the Trinity has done for them. Only then will our own actions make any sense. No homily should ever be delivered that does not explicitly reference and motivate its central point by proclaiming the Christian Gospel.
"To Improve Catholic Homilies. Part 2: Less Moralism, More Gospel" in Church Life: A Journal for New Evangelization vol. 1.3

2 comments:

Beth M said...

This whole article is wonderful... and every word could have been written about the majority of homilies in the Episcopal Church (USA).

BC said...

Thank you Mother Beth for the comment. It is a very good article - indeed, the publication itself is excellent.

I wonder if the most recent generation of Anglican priests are more likely to be receptive to this approach to homilies than those whose formation was in the 1970/80s?