Preaching the Mystery of Faith: The Sunday Homily

Preaching the
Mystery of
Faith: The
Sunday Homily
Fr. John Guthrie
Associate Director, Secretariat of
Clergy, Consecrated Life and
PowerPoint found at:
Two Talks:
of the Document
Magisterial foundations
Contents of the Document
Comparison with “Fulfilled in
Your Hearing” (1982)
Pastoral Implications
Some strategies and
Case study
Magisterial Foundations:
God self-communicates
A personalist view of
Benedict XVI
Exegetical approach
Promotion of “theological
exegesis” leading to
“theological homilies”
Preaching the Mystery of Faith
The context: the New
Evangelization which is the
“focus, mission, and ministry of
the Church going into the
future” (p. 3)
The challenge: “the homilist of
today must realize that he is
addressing a congregation that
is more culturally diverse than
previously, one that is profoundly
affected by the surrounding
secular agenda and, in many
instances, inadequately
catechized” (p. 5)
stir the hearts of our
people” (p. 4)
“To deepen the
knowledge of the faith” (p.
“To renew their living the
faith in the world and
participation in the Church
and her sacraments” (p. 4)
lead people into a
loving and intimate
relationship with the Lord”
(p. 26)
“To lead the hearer into
the deep inner connection
between God’s Word and
the actual circumstances
of one’s everyday life” (p.
inspire and move those
who hear it, to enable them to
understand in heart and mind
what the mysteries of our
redemption mean for our lives
and how they might call us to
repentance and change” (p.
integrative role of the
homily—Insights from the
Emmaus Story
Heading away from
Jerusalem and the
Introductory Rite
“The Paschal Mystery
informs Human Experience”
and New Testament
illumine one another = the
Liturgy of the Word
Homily links Scripture and
Eucharist = Liturgy of the
“The Emmaus account illuminates the
interpenetration of the two dimensions
of the Eucharistic liturgy. Jesus’
explanation of the Scriptures (the
Liturgy of the Word) leads to an intense
experience of communion with the
Risen Christ (the Liturgy of the
Eucharist), and the very vividness of
the latter bring about a deeper
appreciation of the former (‘Were not
our hearts burning within us?’)” (p. 17)
 Sending
on mission = Concluding
“Our encounter with Jesus inevitably
leads to mission; our love for Jesus
translates into love for others. This is
why the homily … ought to inspire a
sense of mission for those who hear it,
making them doers and proclaimers
of the same word in the world. A
homily that does not lead to mission
is, therefore, incomplete.” (p. 18)
new and key section of
document: "The Sunday Homily,
Doctrine, and the Church's
Catechesis" (pp. 21-27)
“the intrinsic relationship
between preaching, doctrine,
and catechesis” (p. 21)—
example: St. Paul’s preaching
A balanced approach and the
place for theological homilies
“The Church’s rich theological,
doctrinal, and catechetical
tradition must therefore properly
inform the preaching task in its
liturgical setting” (p. 5)
Comparison with Fulfilled in
Your Hearing (FYH) (1982)
Fr. Jeremy Driscoll, OSB:
“Nothing is lost here…. But much
is gained”
Affirmation of FYH
Theology of the Preacher
Affirmation of importance of
images, metaphors and
(shades of
PMF: a statement of the
whole Conference
Humility vs. confidence
Starting point
Assessment of the culture,
surrounding environment
View of historical-critical
Reflection Questions:
 What
do you find affirming about
the new document, Preaching
the Mystery of Faith? What do
you find challenging?
 How
does the insights of the
document affirm your own
preaching? How do they
challenge it?
Practical Pastoral Implications
“The Church’s rich theological,
doctrinal, and catechetical
tradition must therefore properly
inform the preaching task in its
liturgical setting” (p. 5)
How can catechesis and
doctrine “inform” the preaching
Theological Tools:
good Catholic commentary
such as the “Catholic
Commentary on Sacred
Daniel Merz and Marcel
Rooney, OSB: Essential
Presidential Prayers and Texts
(Liturgical Training Publications,
of the Catholic
Ancient Christian Commentary
on Scripture (InterVarsity Press)
Good Catholic theology
Sample Homily
 Experience
 Reflection on experience
 Enlightenment from Scripture
 Admonition to change =
Sample Homily (revised)
 Experience
 Reflection on experience
 Enlightenment from Scripture
 Theological Section
 Admonition to change =
Sample Homily: Possible
Theological Improvements
Commentary on
Sacred Scripture
“Drink the cup”
On the Lord’s right and left
parts for 29th Sunday in
Ordinary Time:
Collect: “Almighty ever-living
God, grant that we may
always conform our will to
yours and serve your majesty
in sincerity of heart.”
over the Offerings:
“Grant us, Lord, we pray, a
sincere respect for your gifts,
that, through the purifying
action of your grace, we may
be cleansed by the very
mysteries we serve.”
after Communion:
“Grant, O Lord, we pray, that,
benefiting from participation
in heavenly things, we may
be helped by what you give
in this present age and
prepared for the gifts that are
of the Catholic
Catholic theology
Fr. Jeremy Driscoll, OSB
Creed: “For us men and
for our salvation”
”Jesus is Lord”
Robert Barron
Incarnation … kenosis
Online resource:
Evaluate a recent homily: what
are the possibilities of making it
more catechetical/theological?

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