Skip to content

Homilies Rediscovered in Synod

Interview With Spanish Bishop Julián López Martín

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 5, 2005 (Zenit) - How can priests make Sunday homilies less boring?

This was one question asked during the recent Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist.

Bishop Julián López Martín of Leon, president of the Spanish episcopal conference's liturgical commission, spoke to us about homilies and active participation of the laity in the Mass.

Q: In response to the problem of boring and scattered homilies, the synod suggested that homilies be "mystagogic," namely, that they become a genuine initiation in the mysteries that baptized persons are living and celebrating at that moment. But, what does this mean in practice?

Bishop López: This description isn't necessary when it comes to liturgical preaching, which has its model in the holy fathers.

The homily, reclaimed by the Second Vatican Council in the constitution on the sacred liturgy as part of the celebration itself, is an explanation of some aspect of the readings of the word of God, or of another text of the liturgy of the day, keeping in mind the mystery being commemorated and inviting to live it also in the faithful's particular circumstances.

Q: Could you be a bit more specific?

Bishop López: The homily might be inspired by the readings and applied to the mystery being celebrated, or inspired by the mystery or sacrament being celebrated -- for example, when baptism or confirmation is administered -- illuminating it with the help of the readings to introduce the faithful more profoundly in what they are living.

It is a specific kind of preaching, which must not be confused with a sermon, even if the latter is done in the Mass. The Second Vatican Council and the Missal propose the former.

Q: Why are many homilies boring?

Bishop López: Most of the time, because they are not well prepared, something that requires not only dedication but also knowledge of what a homily should be.

Briefly, it is necessary to study the readings in their mutual relationship -- the Gospel is the guideline -- and in the context of the celebration and of the liturgical time; to meditate on the message, praying and asking oneself what the Lord is trying to tell us in this or that circumstance, and how to manifest it in a clear and comprehensible way.

It is not necessary to be a great orator or to use great resources -- homily means conversation -- but it is a question of assimilating and making one's own what one is going to say, to transmit it through witness.

Q: What do believers need to discover that the liturgy is not something "of priests," but that it also concerns them?

Bishop López: To have savored or tasted it sometime in its spiritual richness. The liturgy is like good wine. Someone who has tasted a wine of genuine quality knows how to distinguish that wine from others of less quality.

In other words, what is needed is initiation from childhood to be able to be faithful to the call to go to Church on Sundays, and that the celebration be done with more care.

This is why it is no longer just the concern of the faithful, but above all of priests. The liturgy is something divine, with human means: communication, symbols, music, etc. One must approach mystery on tiptoes and barefoot.

Q: What has the synod suggested for the more active participation of the people in the liturgy?

Bishop López: The synod recognized once again the importance of the faithful's participation in the liturgy, precisely as proposed by Vatican II, that is, not only active and external but also conscious and internal participation.

This is always an unfinished task, because it requires adequate biblical and liturgical formation in pastors and a certain determination to progress on the part of the faithful. In 1988 John Paul II wrote that the liturgy must be celebrated above all as a spiritual event.

Q: On your return to your diocese, the faithful have asked you what the synod has accomplished. What do you tell them?

Bishop López: The synod, as so many other realities of the life of the Church, does not come into the category of the useful whose efficacy is measured by results that can be quantified.

For three weeks we have tried, the Pope as well, to hear first of all what the Holy Spirit was saying through the pastors summoned to this singular assembly. Each one spoke from his own lived experience as pastor, and from very particular circumstances.

Listening to one another, we perceived a background noise, coincidental at times, complementary at others, marked in many cases by suffering, and in some by persecution and martyrdom, which was the voice of Christ.

At the beginning it sounded like a torrent of water, then it became a sound that went clarifying itself, and at the end, in many aspects, a profound conviction, a call, a suggestion.

What has happened with other synods -- this year is the 40th anniversary of the creation of this institution by Pope Paul VI -- will also happen with this one, giving new impetus to a certain pastoral action, or fostering a renewal in this or that sector of the Christian people.

Contact

Catholic Online
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000

Email

info@yourcatholicvoice.org

Keywords

Synod, Eucharist, Homily, Bishops, Vatican, Benedict

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity
DAN SHEA

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Catholic Online MasterClass
Learn from experts

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Catholic Media Missionaries
The New Evangelization

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.