Recommendation for Homily Preparation

(August 11, 2019)

Bottom line: My recommendation to fellow homilists: order the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture and use it.

This weekend I have Deacon Pierce Murphy as homilist. Below are links to previous 19th Sunday Year C homilies.

I'd like to take advantage of this moment to make a recommendation regarding a commentary I recently discovered. A commentary doesn't replace lectio divina. Still, a verse by verse commentary is essential for preparing a homily.

A good commentary can save a homilist from embarrassing situations. A friend of mine was preaching on the woman with hemorrhages that Jesus cured. He remarked on how God is concerned with our most intimate conditions. So far so good. As he continued, however, it became clear he didn't understand the exact nature of the malady. (He made a joking reference to Preparation-H.) This happened at a morning Mass with a small congregation that took it in stride.

Like my unfortunate friend I've made many blunders because I simply assumed I knew what the text meant. An everyday dictionary and a good commentary can keep such embarrassment to a minimum.

Much more important than a homilist's pride is what Jeremiah says, "When I found your words I devoured them". Before we preach we want to interiorize the Scripture readings. For example, in today's Gospel, what does "gird your loins" refer to? And what does Jesus mean when he says "at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come..."?

A basic commentary will answer those questions. Here's the new that one I like a lot: Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture. So far I've used two volumes: Luke and Matthew. Beyond their solid scholarship they have these advantages:

- They use the same translation as the lectionary. While it's good to compare translations for personal study and prayer, you want your homily to flow from the words you actually proclaim.

- They contain side bars that put the verses in the broader context of doctrine and tradition. For example for today's Gospel, it explains "treasure in heaven" without falling into salvation by works or Pelagianism.

- They diligently connect back to Hebrew Scriptures. Bishop Robert Barron speaks about "Re-Judaizing Catholicism", something I have tried to do even before I heard that wonderful phrase. This commentary series will help homilists re-Judaize our faith.

So that is my recommendation to fellow homilists: order the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture and use it.


How John Paul Bent the Course of History (Audio version of homily for 16th Sunday, Cycle C - 2016)

From Archives (Homilies for Nineteenth Sunday, Year C):

2016: Pope Francis & Youth Week 3: Be Prepared for Martyrdom
2013: Call to Faith - Pope Francis
2010: Try God
2007: Why I Believe God Exists
2004: Persistence Pays
2001: Lord, Teach Us To Pray
1998: Prayer of Intercession

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Ordinary Time leading up to Lent*

Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.

Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

Parish Picture Album


MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru