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Posted September 26, 2013

Book: Preaching the Mystery of Faith: The Sunday Homily
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Washington, DC. 2013. Pp. 48

An Excerpt from the Introduction:

We will begin our reflection on the Sunday homily by turning first to its theological and biblical foundations. As Fulfilled in Your Hearing turned for inspiration to the dramatic scene of Jesus' inaugural preaching in the Gospel of Luke, so too will we turn to Luke's Gospel for our reflection on the preaching ministry of Jesus, not only in the beginning of Jesus' ministry but in the beautiful account of the disciples on the way to Emmaus that leads the Gospel to its conclusion. Throughout the text we will also consider other rich biblical examples that illustrate the the full scope of our preaching ministry.

We will then concentrate on the intrinsic interconnection between the Scriptures, the homily and its liturgical context, and the Church's teaching and catechesis. Here the particular pastoral needs of our time that have prompted the call for a renewed evangelization are an important context.

Finally, we conclude our reflection with a consideration of the spirituality of the homilist. We will consider the necessary qualities of an effective preacher as well as the demands placed upon one who is called to the sacred task of interpreting the Scriptures and preaching the Sunday homily. What might we do as ministers of the word to develop ourselves personally to improve the quality of preaching in our day?

An Excerpt from the Book:

Indeed the time given to preparing the homily must begin with a fruitful time of reflection and prayer. Just as the celebration of the Eucharistic liturgy itself is not a theatrical performance or simply a matter of the rituals being correctly carried out, neither is the homily simply an exercise in good public speaking. Along with the study and care given to the content of the homily and the manner of its presentation, there should also be time for personal reflection on the meaning of the Scriptures and scrutiny of one's own spiritual life in prayerful silence. As Pope Benedict XVI notes in Verbum Domini, "Preachers need to be in close and constant contact with the sacred text; they should prepare for the homily by meditation and prayer, so as to preach with conviction and passion." In this sense, the evangelizer must also first make sure his own life has engage the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Table of Contents:

1. The Biblical foundations for the Church's preaching ministry

2. The ministry of liturgical preaching

3. The one ordained to preach

4. Interpreting the scriptures and preparing the homily