PrayTell Blog posted this
I recently came across an op-ed in a Catholic publication that just brushed the edge of this argument. The quality of a Mass doesn’t depend on the homily, the writer suggested, nor should we should expect it to. To yearn for good preaching, to seek it out, undervalues the true point of the Mass, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I was left with the vague sense that my desire to have an effective “living commentary” [GIRM 29] on the Scriptures was at best something of an imposition on busy priests, and at worst, a sign of failing faith in the Eucharist. It is sufficient that there is a homily.
I don’t buy it. Sacrosanctum concilium called the homily a “part of the liturgy itself” [SC 52] – which implies that good liturgy entails good preaching.
In the midst of all the bustle around the introduction of the new translations of the Mass texts, and how they might affect our liturgical practice and experience, I want to make a plea for thinking deeply about the translation that is under local control: the homily. What is the quality of that translation – the moving of the Word out of the Lectionary and into our lives?
Brilliant thoughts here. New translations aside, the control and creativity that most priests and deacons will continue to concentrate on will be preaching and that will continue to be what touches the hearts of the faithful along with the Eucharistic ritual.
For those who say preaching is not important: I challenge anyone to say that a single part of the mass is not important. You might want to say that preaching isn’t the MOST important part of the mass–in fact there is no MOST important part. The ENTIRE mass as a whole, from start to finish, is what is important.
And that includes preaching.