Although I often receive positive feedback about my preaching, this ministerial action remains the part of my ministry that I continue to find confronting and challenging. In short, I don’t like preaching – which probably has more to do with my introverted nature than anything else.
In reading the Homiletic Directory, however, I find some comfort in the reality that it is only right that I shouldn’t like preaching, if only because of the awesome responsibility that the homilist has in communicating the Gospel message. Such a task should be daunting, difficult, and challenging given the nature of what the preacher is called to give voice to. For a homilist to approach the task without an impending sense of dread strikes me, after reading the Directory, as just plain crazy.
Like any document of its type, the Directory doesn’t necessarily have anything ‘new’ to say. It is, rather, a gathering into one place of much of the teaching of the Church on the question of the liturgical homily. Any ‘newness’ flows from the ability of the reader to see this all in one place, to make connections between different sources, and to have an easy reference for ongoing reflection on the event and task of the homily.
This second half of the Directory contains a systematic overview of the scriptural and theological themes present on a Sunday by Sunday, season by season basis, which will prove handy for preachers as they prepare for a liturgical season or series of Sundays. They won’t necessarily have a homily handed to them, but the ‘big picture’ themes will be available for them as background to their preparation.
One of the appendices provides a very handy index of Seasons and Sundays and their connection with various sections of The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which again will provide the homilist some background material to assist in the preparation of the homily.
A must read for all homilists I would suggest.