Today is the sixth day of the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity. We are praying today for City Church (Canterbury site) led by Martin Segal and Favour House led by King James” We pray “May we all be one in Christ.”
In thinking about the Sunday of the Word of God that we are celebrating this weekend, these words from Pope Francis about the homily (sermon) struck me as pertinent.
For many of our faithful, in fact, this is the only opportunity they have to grasp the beauty of God’s word and to see it applied to their daily lives. Consequently, sufficient time must be devoted to the preparation of the homily. A commentary on the sacred readings cannot be improvised. Those of us who are preachers should not give long, pedantic homilies or wander off into unrelated topics. When we take time to pray and meditate on the sacred text, we can speak from the heart and thus reach the hearts of those who hear us, conveying what is essential and capable of bearing fruit. May we never tire of devoting time and prayer to Scripture, so that it may be received “not as a human word but as what it really is, the word of God” (1 Thess 2:13).
This is a lot to live up to. When I was celebrating my 60th birthday two teenage girls gave me as a present “101 things to do during a DULL SERMON”. Here is one suggestion.
“Make a series of score flash cards like the ones Olympic judges use. Judge this weeks sermon on these categories.
- Quality of monotone
- Use of obscure vocabulary.
- Lack of interesting illustrations.
- Number of irrelevant points.”
It is Saturday morning and the words of Pope Francis from The Joy of the Gospel are ringing in my ears. The preacher who does not prepare himself and who does not pray is “dishonest and irresponsible”(EG 145). “a false prophet, a fraud a shallow imposter.” (EG 151).
Let us pray for all priest and deacons as they prepare what they are going to say this weekend.