21 July 2012

With a text, or without? That is the question!

At 5.30 this morning the USCCB lectionary webpage indicated that today is the memorial of Mary Magdalene.  

I prepared a homily on the proper readings for the memorial.

When I got to the Missal in church, I realized that the USCCB webpage was wrong.  So, my homily was useless.

Tossing aside the text of the prepared homily, I solidered on with an improvised homily on what it means to say "Christ has fulfilled the words of the prophet."

After Mass, four different parishioners told me that it was my best homily ever.  One, a literary sort like myself, very excitedly said, "Father, I'm praying that your printer breaks down, or you spill remoulade sauce on your keyboard!"    

From all this, I take it that some would rather have an off-the-cuff homily than a prepared text.

So, there may be some experimentation in my homiletic future!

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  1. My dear people, this morning we will celebrate a votive Mass of St Mary Magdalen... ;)

    1. I thought of doing that. . .but didn't. . .for some reason.

  2. Father,

    If I may give my 2 cents after a four years of daily Mass celebrated by multiple celebrants and daily Masses in various churches in DC.

    In my experience, I noticed that most of the Daily Mass homilies were better off the cuff, with some preparation, obviously, but not to the point of actually having a prepared text. They seemed to be more to the point and just seemed right for a daily Mass.

    On the other hand, when some of these same celebrants didn't prepare a homily text for Sunday, their homilies were much weaker, since they had time to preach that just isn't there for a Daily Mass.

    Anyway, just my 2 cents... Hope it helps! (I, for one, love reading your homilies, since I am no longer in DC and can't always get to daily Mass, but that is just me...)

  3. I know that a lot of priests prefer to "let the Spirit speak through them" rather than use a prepared text. Using a prepared text makes eye contact more difficult and makes the homily more formal and stuffy. However, in my experience, they also tend to be more entertaining. Father spontaneously makes a joke that gets a few laughs and before you know it he on a roll and the Gospel message is replaced with "I'm alright now but last week I was in rough shape...".

    Father Barron writes his speeches out, then memorizes them, then throws the papers away (which he learned from Abp Fulton Sheen) and I'd go to great lengths to hear him talk, so maybe that's a best of both worlds approach.