Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Treasures of Our Faith

The San Fernando Pastoral Region presents a new series of articles titled “Treasures of our Faith.” The series is authored by Ryan Adams, one of the region’s diaconate candidates and a member of the region’s media team.

In his 10th article, Adams talks about the homily.

By Ryan Adams

The word “homily” is derived from the Greek word “homilia,” which means, “to have verbal communion with a person.”

The aim of the homily is to explain the literal and to evolve the spiritual meaning of the sacred text. The Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum) makes it clear to us that sacred scripture is to both regulate and nourish all preaching.

A homily should explain the central points of the texts in a manner that enlightens and stimulates the Christian faith and life.

The homily is part of the liturgy and is necessary for the nurturing of the Christian life. It should be an "exposition of some aspect of the readings from Sacred Scripture or of another text from the Ordinary, or from the Proper of the Mass of the day" (General Instruction of the Roman Missal).

The homily should take into account the mystery being celebrated and the particular needs of the community. The homily is to act as a living commentary on the word of God.

The homily is the oldest form of Christian preaching. Preaching the word of God has been an essential responsibility of the church since the time of Saint Paul and the establishment of the very first Christian communities.

For Catholics today, the homily remains a central moment of encounter with the word of God. The homily can be a source of insight and inspiration that can deepen the spiritual life of a congregation.

Pope Benedict XVI noted recently that good homilies help to “foster a deeper understanding of the word of God so that it can bear fruit in the lives of the faithful.”

The homily is given by the priest celebrant, or he may entrust it to a con-celebrating priest or to the deacon. After the homily, a brief period of silence is observed so that the listener, all of us as a community of the faithful, can briefly contemplate and meditate on the words just spoken to us.

Not only must the homily be faithful to the scriptures, but it must be faithful to the congregation as well, because by definition, the homily is meant for the benefit and nourishment of the community.

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