More about homilies…

Since the early days of Christian Liturgy, the Word of God has been explained via a homily which means explanation.  It is rooted in ancient Jewish custom.  In the book of Ezra for example, the Levites helped people to understand God’s law. Jewish synagogues did readings accompanied by explanations.  Jesus did the same in his hometown synagogue in Nazareth and throughout Galilee.

Homilies are intended to help the faithful understand the readings and apply them to their lives.  The homily holds “pride of place” above the different forms of Christian instruction.  Only deacons, priest or bishops should read the Gospel and give a homily.   Reserving the Gospel reading for ordained ministers reminds us the Gospels are to be read and understood under the authority of apostolic faith. The purpose of the homily being done by an ordained minister is to ensure the preaching is passing on the apostolic faith.

I prepare for a homily by praying first to the Holy Spirit for guidance and help.  I also keep in mind the liturgical season and the current needs of the community. I will read other commentaries and homilies to assist in my understanding of the readings. While I often use personal experiences in my homilies, I ask God to “empty me of me” so His Spirit can be the inspiration of all my words.  Regardless of the style of the homilist or the readings, God is meeting each one of us where we our in our life currently, if we are open to receiving Him.