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Book: Preaching to the Hungers of the Heart: The Homily on the Feasts and within the Rites
Author: James A. Wallace
The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 2002, pp.194.

Excerpt from Preface:

Words create and destroy. They create worlds to enter and dwell in. They give us visions of things never before seen and restore memories long forgotten. They have the capacity t reveal the human heart of one person to another and to bind together thousands of people into a community of common purpose. Words can also destroy, strike at the core of long accepted truths and subvert them. They can penetrate and in a few strokes obliterate what we thought was secure and lasting. Words can betray and seduce, defile and deny.

This is a book about words, most particularly it is a book about THE WORD, the living Word of God, found in the Scriptures, and embodied once and for all in the person of Jesus, the Word made flesh. This book has been written for those called to preach the Word of God, and comes out of years of listening to the first efforts of many men and women to be preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is written from within the world of Roman Catholicism and its liturgical life, a world I was baptized into as a child, and whose riches I have come to appreciate more and more deeply as I come near to the end of my sixth decade. As a professor of homiletics for almost thirty years, I have been preoccupied with words and the Word, and how they interact: sometimes with power, sometimes in tension, and sometimes with little apparent impact.

Excerpt from Book:

For five chapters we have considered the homily as “a necessary source of nourishment of the Christian life”, capable of feeding three particular hungers of the human heart. For preachers to satisfy the hunger people have for wholeness, meaning, and belonging, there must be within preachers themselves a hunger for the gospel in their own lives and a hunger to make the Lord known by preaching the gospel to all others. To nourish the hearts of others includes tending to one’s own. This chapter will suggest four areas preachers might cultivate, four loves that lie at the heart of preaching: a love for words, for Scripture, for people, and for Jesus Christ. When these loves are tended, preachers are most likely to know how to feed “the hunger for the Gospel and for faith, hope and love for God and his mystery, a hunger which is more or less consciously present in the people of God entrusted to him.”

Table of Contents:

Chapter 1

Preaching’s Task in a New Millennium: Feeding God’s People

“You Give Them Something to Eat” (Mark 6:37) A Pericope for preachers

“Take and Eat”: The Primary Role of the Scriptures

“A Necessary Source of Nourishment”: The Role of the Homily

“Everybody’s Got a Hungry Heart”: The Hungers Preaching Feeds

Chapter 2

Preaching the Feasts of the Lord and the Hunger for Wholeness

The Feasts of the Lord: Access to the Story That Completes Us

The Liturgical Year As Formative: Of Calendars, Cycles and Seasons

Preaching on the Feast: Primary and Secondary Resources

Preaching on he Feast: Making Use of the Larger Context

Homilies on the Solemnities of the Lord

Chapter 3

Preaching within the Sacramental Rites and the Hunger for Meaning

Our Search for Meaning and the Experience of Ritual

The Sacramental Rites: Events of Meaning and Empowerment

Preaching within the Sacramental Rites: Liturgical Guidelines

Preaching within the Sacramental Rites: A Homilist’s Proposal

Homilies within the Sacramental Rites

Chapter 4

I — The Saints

The Saints and Our Hunger for Belonging

The Saints and Today’s Church

The Saints and the Lectionary

The Saints on the Feast of the Saints

Chapter 5

Preaching Through the Saints and the Hunger for Belonging:

II — Mary

Saint Mary and the Challenge of Preaching the Marian Feasts

Images of Mary, Past and Present

Paul VI and Marian Devotion: Four Guidelines and a Principle

Preaching on the Marian Feasts

Homilies on the Feasts of Mary

Chapter 6

Cultivating the Preacher’s Hunger:

“To Make the Lord Known and Loved”

A Love for Words

A Love for Scripture

A Love for the People

A Love for Jesus Christ