All posts filed under: ARTICLES

From Fear to Love: Preaching in these Troubling Times

Published by Deborah Organ

“Are the shootings and the wars going to happen here, Mom?” The little girl asked her mother after hearing yet another violent news story. Nice, Paris, Turkey, Syria, Dallas, Minneapolis . . . and, unfortunately, the list goes on of places suffering the complexity and heartbreak of eruptions of often unpredictable violence. Where next? We may wonder, along with the little girl, when and how ter...

Improving Catholic Homilies, Part 3: Explain the Liturgy

Published by Christian Smith

I have in parts one and two of this series dedicated to improving Catholic homilies suggested two major pieces of advice. First, avoid homilies that are unfocused and difficult to absorb by driving home only one important point per homily. Second, avoid sentimental moralism by grounding every homily message in the Good News of what God has done for us as the foundation of anything we might need...

Improving Catholic Homilies, Part 2: Less Moralism, More Gospel

Published by Christian Smith

In the first installment of this series, I addressed one problem with Catholic homilies: the tendency to focus on too many points, rather than a single teaching or idea woven throughout the homily. The second common problem with bad Catholic homilies is this: far too many preachers neglect the Christian Gospel, true evangelization, and instead merely peddle sentimental moralism. Too often Catho...

Preaching Beauty

Published by Karla Bellinger

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. . . . You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and yo...

Improving Catholic Homilies, Part 1: One Point at a Time

Published by Christian Smith

It is common knowledge that the homilies offered in many Catholic parishes (how can one say this charitably?) often have a lot of room for improvement. The quality of Catholic homilies, of course, varies widely according to the specific parish and priest involved. I have actually heard some of the best sermons of my life in Catholic Masses. But I have also heard plenty of lousy homilies too. So...

A New Homiletic Hearing

Published by Guerric DeBona, OSB

We are a society which tends to live out of its mouth. It is hard to visit a doctor’s office, a restaurant, or even a church these days when folks are not chirping about this or that. Perhaps some of it is necessary; much of it not. And maybe we have always loved much talking. After all, even before technology made instant communication a no-brainer, oral cultures trafficked in stories, gossip,...

Review: "Preaching as Worship" by Michael Quicke

How might Catholic parishes better form worshippers in, through, and for liturgy?

Pentecost for Preachers: The Mysticism of the Homiletic Moment

Published by Karla Bellinger

The Easter season provides busy homilists with a basketful of opportunities to preach and preach and preach. Now Pentecost is coming. What more is there to say? What more is there to give? And, some may ask, where does the strength come from to keep on giving? We turn to this year’s Pentecost Gospel reading from John to find out.

Preaching at the Easter Fire

Published by Timothy O'Malley

The Easter fire has been lit. We stand at the edge of something which is beyond our control. Its warmth and light make all the difference in our lives and in our world. As preachers, we are invited to give voice to the Church’s faith, and the cornerstone of that faith, now and for all time, is the affirmation that Jesus Christ, put to death cruelly and unjustly, nonetheless lives and walks amon...

Preaching Lent in the Year of Mercy

Lent comes from the same old English root as lengthen – it’s a reference to the lengthening of the daylight hours in the Northern Hemisphere’s spring.  In other words, Lent is the church’s springtime, a time of increasing light helping us to see more clearly, a season of new life and renewal, a time to renew our love.  This is why the old missal could pray, “Each year you (God) give us this joy...