Boring homilies? The opportunity of the week

Given the opportunity of the many people who come to a parish every Sunday, we cannot miss the opportunity to offer them a good preaching, so that they, in turn, leave with the illusion of announcing the Gospel. 

Javier Sánchez Cervera-March 12, 2021-Reading time: 3 minutes

In October 2008, Barack Obama, then running for President of the United States, gave a rally in Denver for about 100,000 people. It is the largest crowd to date that I know of. 

Here, in Spain, they say that 61 % of the population declares itself Catholic. That is more than 28 million people, and of them it is supposed that around 7 % go to Mass every Sunday, which leaves us with the impressive figure of 1,960,000 people who listen to the priest speak at Mass every Sunday. There is no other institution that has this capacity to attract and, therefore, to influence so many people. So, what do we do with these talents entrusted to us?

According to the Gospel, the answer is clear: negotiate. To use all our abilities to make what He entrusts to us work so that we can give Him back more than He has given us. "He who had received five talents went immediately and traded with them and came to gain another five. In the same way, the one who had received two gained two more." (Mt 25:14ff).

Every Sunday, in Spain, we receive in the parishes 1,960,000 talents and we are asked to return to the Lord those same multiplied children of his: full of enthusiasm to live their Christian life, with clear ideas that are a guide in their lives, with a renewed love, with a deeper knowledge of Christ and the truths of the faith. It is an opportunity that we simply cannot miss. 

Augustine, twenty-nine years old, arrives in Milan. He had been a Manichean for ten years. At Tagaste he had been a professor of grammar, and at Carthage he had opened his own school of eloquence. Now, in the great city, he arrives as a professor of rhetoric and, soon after, he hears of the oratory of Bishop Ambrose. He meets with him and begins to attend his sermons, although confessing that: "I did not care to learn what he said, but only to hear how he said it, it was this vain care that was all that had remained in me." (Confessions XIV, 24) 

As I opened my heart to receive what he said eloquently, what he said of truth entered into it at the same time.

St. Augustine

Ambrose had been trained from the age of fourteen by a master of rhetoric, and knew perfectly the writings of Cicero, Quintilian and other masters of oratory. Because he united in preaching the Word of God his style, the sweetness of his words and the holiness of his life, Augustine simply could not resist: "There came into my mind, together with the words that pleased me, the things that I despised, because I could not separate the one from the other, and so, as I opened my heart to receive what he said eloquently, there entered into it at the same time what he said of truth.".

The substance, the form and the sanctity of life. The whatthe how and the who are the talents we have to negotiate: a central message in the Gospel, a suitable form and our own union with Christ whom we preach, are the elements that make the Gospel the most effective and effective way to preach the Gospel. irresistible preaching, in the words of Roger Ailes, one of Ronald Reagan's political advisors: "All the suggestions, all the training in public speaking, all the knowledge about staging, performance and media-all that is popularly associated with fabricating an image-won't work if the improvements don't adequately match who you essentially are.".

However, we cannot ignore the importance of this trainingof this staging. The Gospel itself bears witness to Jesus' effort to try to explain in the simplest, closest and most memorable Can we remain at peace without the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven? negotiate the talents that God entrusts to us - because they are His - every week?

Yes, service to the Word of God is a privilege, but it is also an opportunity, a talent that we must negotiate and negotiate well.

Javier Sánchez Cervera

We cannot give back to the Lord the same talent he left us, after having buried it in the ground for a while, motionless, without risk, without change, just as it entered, just as when we began to speak. Couldn't we do something else? As Pope Francis says: "There are many claims that are addressed in relation to this great ministry and we cannot turn a deaf ear." (Evangelii Gaudium, n. 135).

Yes, service to the Word of God is a privilege, but it is also an opportunity, a talent that we must negotiate and negotiate well, for the Word, as Baldwin of Canterbury points out: "It is effective and sharper than a double-edged sword for those who believe in it and love it. What, indeed, is impossible for him who believes or difficult for him who loves? When this word resounds, it penetrates the heart of the believer like sharp archer's arrows; and it penetrates it so deeply that it pierces to the innermost recesses of the spirit; hence it is said to be sharper than a double-edged sword, more incisive than all power or force, more subtle than all human acuteness, more penetrating than all wisdom and all the words of the learned." (Tractatus, 6).

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