Again the homily PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 15 June 2017 13:31


TWENTY-SIX years have passed since my ordination in the palindrome year of 1991. Events like this always elicit from me deep sentiments of thanksgiving to God and all for everything that I have experienced and learned through those years, including the failures and setbacks which can be rich sources of goodness if handled well.

They also offer the occasion to make some kind of review if only to discern the more subtle ways God is trying to point out to us. This time, I thought I need to share my experience in preparing and giving homilies with the view of helping my brother-priests in this most delicate task of conveying the word of God to the people.

Everyone, I suppose, has his own way of doing things. I just want to voice out my experience for whatever it is worth. I don’t consider myself a kind of standard or model in this regard. I just hope my sharing can help priests in giving more attention in preparing and giving a homily.

One thing is quite obvious. We need to go through all the prayers and readings of the Mass of the day to get the basic theme of the homily. Yes, meditating on them is truly helpful and the effort to relate them to the current issues and developments around is necessary.

What is Christ trying to tell the people today and what do people need to know and to realize with respect to the day’s Mass readings and prayers? These are some guiding questions that should lead priests to make the necessary study, research, consultation, etc., and to start making the outline of his homily.

This should be done with ample time in advance so that the points that would be brought up would be properly internalized and articulated. It’s clear that due preparation is not simply a matter of taking care of the technical aspects of the homily, but rather of seeing to it that one arrives at the conviction that what he would say is what God wants him to say.

Thus, the role of the priest’s spiritual life is indispensable. The effectiveness of the homily is never just a function of the technical qualities of the homily. It is about effectively transmitting the very spirit of God.

We can therefore safely say that preparing and giving a homily depends on one’s vital relationship with God. The task is an abiding concern where one hardly knows where he begins and ends. Everything in his life, especially in his intimate relationship with God, becomes a material for his homily. The technical requirements only play a strictly supporting role.

We have to avoid being so technically concerned about this whole business that we undermine the spiritual requirement. We have to assure ourselves that when we are spiritually healthy, the technical thing would just be met quite easily.

A homily prepared and given without the spiritual requirement may manage to attract some attention, but in the end its effects would not be lasting. Sometimes it may manage to get the attention of the people the way a graffiti on a dirty wall can steal the people’s curiosity.