29 May 2012

Homiletic challenge

I've asked for feedback on my recent homilies and HA readers have responded with enthusiasm!  

Here's another request:  give me a homiletic challenge; in other words, challenge me to compose a homily that you would enjoying hearing preached, or one that you need to hear preached.

This could be a topic/issue or a scripture passage or a doctrine of the faith, etc.

I just might accept your challenge!
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22 comments:

  1. Here's a good challenge for a Dominican:

    The Gospel reading for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time is John 6:51-58, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven, etc." As meaty a Gospel passage as we get outside Holy Week. People have founded religious communities on that reading.

    So compose a homily on the First and Second Readings, titled, "Get Drunk on the Wine of the Spirit."

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    1. Hmmmmm. . .I've preached on these passages before. But I do like the idea of riffing on the idea of being intoxicated with the Spirit. . .

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  2. The whole gamut of the Church's teaching on sexuality, for otherwise the only voices on it are from the culture of death.

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    1. Agreed--particularly about the Church's position on contraception. There have been quite a few that I've heard recently, thanks to the "Health Care" mandate, defending the rights of Catholics to live according to this tenet of the faith...but I haven't really heard one delving into the teaching itself.

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    2. OK. This would be a challenge b/c the temptation would be to compose a lecture rather than a homily. Could you suggest an applicable scripture passage?

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    3. I suggested this because I think that the silence in the last few years has done much damage. True, sex is a subject that demands reverence and modesty, but not silence, for the culture of death is quite vocal about it and must be given the field. When we have the treasure left us in Bl. JPII's Theology of Human Love, AKA ToB, we have the best answers and we must proclaim them to the four winds.

      I think that clarifying the differences between Mk 10 and its parallel in Mt are important nowadays and I'm sure that it's always a good opportunity to reiterate on the indissolubility of the sacrament of marriage. Likewise whenever the Song of Songs is a reading; is it ever?

      Perhaps using Gn 38 as a spring-board about masturbation and contraception. Yes, even on a Sunday.

      St. Paul's references to premarital and gay sex are also good opportunities to put forth the Church's teaching on these subjects.

      Preach on, Fr. P, and God bless you.

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    4. I imagine you'd have a better idea than I, Father! :) The Catechism refers to Eph. 3:14-15, which might be a good choice. According to my hasty research, it looks like this is a reading from the Thursday of the 29th week in Ordinary Time this year. The year B readings for the second Sunday in Ordinary Time would be good too, though of course it'd be another 3 years before you'd be able to use it.

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    5. Correction: the culture of death must NOT be given the field.

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  3. I second Augustine, and would like to hear a homily particularly on why contraceptives are intrinsically evil. Too many Catholics do not see the incongruity in opposing abortion but supporting contraceptives.

    Also, there is a lot of very fuzzy thinking out there about the morality of lying. I'd like to hear a homily on why lying is intrinsically evil, including some discussion of examples in Scripture where Jesus appears to be telling falsehoods: why, for example, He was not lying when He said He would not go to the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:7-10) or why He was not lying when He said that no one, not even the Son, knows the Last Day, but only the Father (Matthew 24:36).

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    1. Lying always means intending to deceive, meaning that I am saying or doing something SO THAT you are deceived. Sometimes we say or do things that turn out not to be true. . .so long as the intent was not to deceive, it's not lying.

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  4. How about a homily directed to the needs of single people? I'm thinking of adults who would like to be married but are not. Bonus points if the text is something that usually leads to reflections on married/family life.

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    1. Good challenge! I'll title it, "Keep Your Pants Zipped and Your Hands to Yourself!" ;-)

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  5. "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us"

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    1. I've preached on this topic many times. Is there a particular aspect of the idea that you find challenging?

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    2. Gregg the Obscure10:17 AM

      Yep. Forgiving someone who keeps after the same sin several times a day for decades without any apparent repentance.

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  6. What to do about all the different types of laws in the Bible? The gay marriage lobby defends their position by the "shellfish argument". How does one know which laws still apply and which do not? How do you respond when that comes up?

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    1. This is more of an apologetics topics, but I see where hearing something on this might be helpful.

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  7. I do think we need some good sermons on sexuality. But I think, as with Bl John Paul you have to go back to basics - before you hit homosexuality or contraception or divorce you need something solid on marriage. It's so important as there's so much confusion. I hear people making big distinctions between Catholic marriage and civil marriage and the tradition doesn't really support that. Marriage as a natural institution, a simple public exchange of consent by a man and woman, and how that human thing became also a sacrament. From that (perhaps not in same sermon) then the place of sex in marriage and why only in marriage. And that brings you into homosexuality and contraception.

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  8. Hi Father. One thing I have a hard time with is God's will. I recently suffered a miscarriage. The saints that wax poetically about how much they love God's will really annoy me. Yet I have a hard time when He allows things like death, miscarriage, family turmoil, etc. Especially when it's something good (e.g., a couple who wanted kids losing a baby). What's there to like about His will in that case? Quite often I really dislike His painful plans, even though they are probably the best for us. For now it just seems easier to practice the "resignation" to God's will, kicking and screaming all the way. :)

    Perhaps a homily that would shed light on this conundrum?

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  9. Father, after much prayer here is what I "need" to hear (probably several homilies): How do you know what God is calling you toward? And if He is calling you to rely on him alone, how can you find your way to that place (why is trust so difficult)? What do you do when you are surrounded by what could be perceived as evil, probably isn't but is at least "non-goodness" - how do you maintain your spiritual equilibrium and how do you continue to grow in faith in a situation like this? What does it mean when you can feel the Lord's sorrow, his Mother's sorrow, for the lack of faith - or more properly, the inability or unwillingness of other people to see what is most important in their lives? How can one be truly transparent so that the Lord's light can shine right through for others to see - and they know it is God's light not your own? If you can touch on any of these topics in homilies, that would be finer'n frog's hair. :-)

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    1. If I may intrude, it seems to me that you'd benefit from a spiritual director.

      God bless.

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    2. Augustine,
      No worries - I have been searching for a couple of years; location makes things more challenging -living on a ferry-served island requires a full-day's commitment for anything on the mainland...but have just found a little Carmelite spirituality center only about an hour from the ferry landing, which I will be visiting this weekend.
      Thanks, and God bless.

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