Expert Answer Forum

sermon QUESTION from Mr. Ross October 2, 1999
Why do the majority of the priests after reading the Scripture don't necessarily ignore what was just read but usually only lightly include it in an sermon often taking the sermon somewhere else.? If they are the professionals why can't they teach the truth? Why pull punches at risk of unsettling the congregation. So what if the catechism says the same thing.. people forget and books and bibles collect dust. They have an opportunity to say more so why don't they.? No one else can speak for them during that time so why don't they use it to teach on what they just read.? ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on October 3, 1999
Dear Mr. Ross, I travel quite a bit and I visit numerous churches. It's been my experience that priests generally do focus their homily upon the Gospel reading of the day. Do some priests pull punches and water down the Gospel message? No doubt some do, but again my general experience is that the majority of them do not. I'm told that in some dioceses it's much more prevalent than those which I've visited, and we have to pray for them. While the Church's liturgical instructions, which I've listed below, clearly state that on Sundays and holy days a homily on the Scripture readings is to be preached, for good pastoral reasons a sermon not directly connected with the readings could be preached. The homily is an integral part of the liturgy and is strongly recommended: it is necessary for the nurturing of the Christian life. It should develop some point of the readings or of another text from the Ordinary or from the Proper of the Mass of the day, and take into account the mystery being celebrated and the needs proper to the listeners. [General Instruction of the Roman Missal art. 41] By means of the homily the mysteries of the faith and the guiding principles of the Christian life are expounded from the sacred text, during the course of the liturgical year; the homily, therefore, is to be highly esteemed as part of the liturgy itself; in fact, at those Masses which are celebrated with the assistance of the people on Sundays and feasts of obligation, it should not be omitted except for a serious reason. [Sacrosanctum Concilium art. 52] I hope this helps. In Christ, John Miskell Back to Index Page

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