Sunday, August 8, 2010

Why I Preached What I Preached Last Night

Each Sunday, I will post on this blog a link to the audio recording of the homily that I preached the evening before at Transfiguration Parish's 5:00 p.m. Mass. I will also provide a few short background comments about my homily, especially for the benefit of seminarians who are preparing for their future preaching ministry in the parishes.

You will find the audio of last evening's (8-7-10) Gospel (Luke 12:32-48) and Homily at the following link:

Here are a few comments:

1. Most parishioners have become dulled to the urgent message of Christ Jesus concerning His return, and the judgment that will accompany that return. My opening comments about a Second Coming just 7 hours away was meant to stir an attentiveness to the fact that, indeed, Christ could come at any moment.

2. For many listeners, the various parables and declarations by the Lord concerning His Return tend to bleed together in their minds, boiling down to some generic point such as, "Jesus is coming, so look busy." But this parable has a quite pointed message regarding faithful stewardship for anyone who has been entrusted with the pastoral care of others.

3. I am convinced that the twin evils of abuse and neglect are the constant temptations for all in pastoral leadership. Even the most recent sexual abuse crisis has shown a spotlight on these: the abuse of minors by some priests, religious, and bishops, and the neglect by some church leaders in dealing with these matters with vigilance and alacrity. This is a key text by our Lord regarding these still-pressing matters, and the preacher should not dodge it.

4. However, the preacher must find some concrete ways to bring this point home to all of the hearers, all of whom have some pastoral care for others within their vocations and their daily responsbilities.

5. The tie-in in my Homily to the youth in the congregation was a rather weak one, but I am still glad I did it. Most young people at church on Sunday presume that the homily is for the parents and grandparents, but not for them. They typically "zone out" unless the preacher explicitly addresses them somehow. The priest does not need to resort to silliness or condescension when addressing the young people. Rather, he needs to communicate the Church's conviction that the young people, especially those who are confirmed, are to be just as attentive to God's Word as the older members of the congregation.


  1. Thank you so much for this blog, Father. As always, we at SJV will be taking notes!

  2. Ryan, I hope that you and all of the other seminarians of the Diocese of Lansing are doing well. I will be praying for your end-of-summer seminarians retreat with Bishop Boyea. God bless.

  3. Father
    It was good to be reminded that we have spiritual responsibilities.

    I have long worried about Luke 12:40: You too must stand ready, because the son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

    But I still need to be reminded about it, daily.