Monday, February 3, 2020

Sunday Sermon, January 26th -- Scripture in the Mass and Why Homilies Should Be Long (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time will now be known as "Sunday of the Word of God" in which Pope Francis is asking that we reflect on the place of Sacred Scripture in the Life of the Church and in the life of each Christian.

The pre-eminent place of Scripture in the Mass is not so much the readings, as the antiphons (the entrance, offertory, and communion antiphons, as well as the gradual verse).  However, most parishes throw out the Word of God in the Scriptural antiphons of the Mass and substitute man-made hymns. The use of hymns or songs instead of the antiphons is one of the gravest deficiencies of the Vatican II liturgy, and something which must be corrected.  To use an opening hymn in the place of the Biblical antiphon is comparable to reading from the writings of Martin Luther King Jr (in honor of MLK day) in place of the prophet Isaiah!

Secondly, we consider the role of the sermon or homily in the Mass. There is no difference between a sermon and a homily -- and anyone who claims that a sermon is one thing and a homily another simply has not read the Vatican II documents carefully (since the Church uses both words to mean the same thing).

Often, people will emphasize that the most important characteristic of a good homily is that it be short.  However, there is no justification for this claim - indeed, we argue that it is precisely the emphasis on short sermons which has caused Catholic preaching to be so poor.  Whenever anyone says what a homily is supposed to be, we should ask them if they can quote what Vatican II said a homily is or what Trent said a homily is -- The proclamation of the wondrous works of God in the history of salvation, and teaching the essential truths of the faith necessary for salvation.

The Church teaches that preaching is the most important duty of pastors of souls, without a renewal in Catholic preaching, there will be no true renewal in the Church.

Listen online [here]!


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