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Posted December 5, 2006

Book: If You Preach It, They Will Come
Author: Rev. Eduardo A. Samaniego, S.J.
Resource Publications, Inc. San Jose, CA. 2006. Pp. 112

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

If You Preach It, They Will Come . . . To What?

Yes, to church — but more importantly, to life in the faith! Your preaching is the moment in liturgy when you can illuminate how word and sacrament connect to people’s lives. Father Eddie, a well-loved preacher, shares his “tricks of the trade” for maximizing the interest level and impact of your homily.

– Explore the 4 rules of good public speaking

– Ask yourself the 3 questions for successful faith formation (to which every homilist should answer yes).

– Find your voice, and cultivate your style

– Discover how to connect with each person in your audience — even though none of them processes information in the same way!

– Learn the 6 principles of preparation

An Excerpt from the Book:

The Three Questions

The purpose of life is to matter — to count, to stand for something, to have it make a difference that we have lived at all (Leo Buscaglia 38).

Jesus came so that those who perceived themselves as nobodies would learn that they are God’s somebodies. The mission of a preacher is the same: to let people know that they are important to others and to God, that they are loved just as they are. Doing so completes Christ’s mission.

To accomplish this, remember two things about preaching: It is about God’s work, and it can influence people. What an incredible responsibility and charge you have been given! Remembering these things will always keep you humble. God gives the agenda, not you. The medium or messenger and the message must both be good news to the listener.

Father Joe Powers, SJ. Once said that if the answer to these three questions is yes, you will be a successful evangelist:

1. Does my homily (or presentation) come from my faith?

2. Does it communicate my faith?

3. Does it evoke or challenge my faith and that of the listener?

If we answer no to any one of these questions, it’s time to tear up the homily and begin again.

This happened to me the night before my sister’s wedding. I was a deacon then and had completed the homily. I was practicing it aloud, recording it on a cassette player. (The taped voice you hear sounds different from how you normally hear your voice.) As I listened to the homily I replayed it, I found that it neither evoked my faith nor moved me. I was not convinced by what I was sharing ( I preach not only to others, but also to myself). I tore it up and prayed that God would reveal the message to deliver to my sister, family, and friends the next day. I went to sleep, and the next morning, I remembered a story. I used it as the ho-hum. It helped lay the foundation for the bridge to the Scriptures my sister had chosen for her nuptial Mass. Since I had been preparing all week, I was ready to deliver the message. This experience helped me become a better person because the message to my sister and my brother-in-law also applied to my life. I preached to me, too.

Table of Contents:

How to Preach It

1. The four rules

2. The three questions

3. What voice are you in?

4. Know your audience

5. Get help in preparing

Selected Homilies

2nd Sun. Advent

4th Sun. Advent

Mary, Mother of Jesus

Feast of the Holy Family

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

8th Sunday in Ordinary Time

1st Sun. Of Lent

2nd Sun. Of Lent

4th Sun. Lent

Palm Sunday

Easter Vigil

Easter Sunday

3rd Sun. Easter

5th Sun. Easter: (B) Mother’s Day

Feast of the Ascension (B): Mother’s Day

Pentecost (A)

Trinity Sunday

Corpus Christi: Body and Blood of Christ (A)

11th Sun. In Ordinary Time (B): Father’s Day

12th Sun. In Ordinary Time

14th Sun. Ordinary Time

17th Sun. Ordinary Time

21st Sun. Ordinary Time

23rd Sun. Ordinary Time

25th Sun. Ordinary Time

26th Sun. Ordinary Time

28th Sun. Ordinary Time

31st Sun. Ordinary Time