In the synagogue service the readings from the Law and Prophets were concluded by an explanation given by one of those present. One of the oldes descriptions of the Eucharist attests the same practice. Writing about the year 50, St. Justin the Martyr says after the readings the bishops instructed and exhorted the people to imitate the things they heard (cf. I Aplolgia 67:4). Like the Eucharist itself, the bread of God’s word was to be broken, to be applied to the concrete life situations of the people.
Many times in the Church’s history, homilies were not considered essential or important. In 1964, the Second Vatican Council said, “By means of the homily the mysteries of the faith and the guiding principles of the Christian life are expounded from the sacred text during the course of the liturgical year; the homily, therefore, is to be highly esteemed as part of the liturgy itself: in fact, at those Masses, which are celebrated with the assistance of the people on Sundays and feasts of obligation. It should not be omitted except fro a serious reason.” ( Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Art. 52).
General Instruction of the Roman Missal (The Church’s Textbook)
41. The homily is strongly recommended as an integral part of the liturgy and as a necessary source of nourishment of the Christian life. It should develop some point of the readings or of another text form the Ordinary of the Mass of the day. The homilist should keep in mind the mystery that is being celebrated and the needs of the particular community.
Through the homily the members of the assembly are called to become a holy people so that they can better celebrate the Eucharist and offer themselves with and through Christ in the Eucharistic Prayer.
Questions for Reflection:
1. What can prevent me from applying myself to understand the homily?
2. How can I avoid distractions so as to better concentrate?
3. Can I take away one lasting point of reflection for the coming week?
4. Am I willing to give the preacher honest feedback?
Scripture: Lk 4: 2o-22