Listening to the homily PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 30 March 2017 10:50



PRIESTS, of course, should try their best to prepare and deliver their homilies well, seeing to it that the word of God is effectively transmitted and the loving encounter between Christ and the people is facilitated. But the people themselves also have to know how to listen because without the proper dispositions, they will miss the point no matter how well the homily has been given.

Christ himself must have referred to this concern when a number of times, during the course of his preaching, he would conclude by saying, “Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mt 11,15; Mk 4,9) I suppose he was asking the people to have faith in him, because without it, his words would never sink in them.

Christ himself, who is already the fullness of divine revelation, had been misunderstood by many people and continues up to now to suffer the same predicament.

There were those who, lacking in faith in him, consistently tried to find fault in his preaching. Even the apostles, already very close to him, sometimes could not figure out what he meant. That’s why they often asked him, “Explain the parable to us.” (Mt 15,15)

Obviously, part of the problem is that much of Christ’s preaching, and therefore, a good part of our faith, contains mysteries which are truths that go beyond the capacity of our senses and intellect. Just the same, if one has faith, these mysteries offer no problem in being accepted and believed.

When we attend the Holy Mass and listen to the homily, we have to make sure that our proper dispositions are in place. We are not there to see or hear some theatrical or oratorical performance. We are there to join in the sacrifice of Christ.

At Mass, we step into another kind of reality, the reality of the liturgy where through human ministers and natural things like words, prayers and some materials like bread and wine, the presence of Christ, his sacrifice of his life for our own sake, the whole redemptive work of Christ take place.

We certainly have to make adjustments in terms of attitude and dispositions when we attend Mass and listen to the homily. That’s why it’s highly recommended that we, the people, have to make due preparation before attending Mass. We just do not go there as if the Mass is one more event to attend during the day.

We have to enliven our faith and piety, stir up our consciousness to the fact that at Mass we will have a direct contact with Christ, we become contemporaries of his especially as he offers his life on the Cross in Calvary, and we are invited to make our own sacrifice, uniting it with his.

In this way, we can recognize the voice of Christ and the proper spirit behind his words during the homily, regardless of how the priests would mangle his words because of lack of preparation and bad delivery. We would be moved to act on his words, to be doers also and not just hearers of Christ’s word.