October 14, 2009

How to Listen to a Homily


Fr. Phillip Neri Powell

The following is excerpted from the article “Put Down the Missalette! Listening to a Homily” by Fr. Philip Neri Powell, O.P., Ph.D. Visit his website here.

2. Pay attention to key words, images, phrases, ideas.

If you can’t “hear” the whole homily, listen for prominent words or ideas that get repeated or emphasized. A good preacher will ask a question or make a statement or in some way call your attention to his point(s). When you hear this point, cling to it and then listen to the rest of the homily “through” this point, paying careful attention to how it is developed or used. So, for example, if the preacher starts by defining “conversion” or asking a question about conversion, then listen for images or words or some kind of repetition of conversion themes in the rest of the homily. He might preach about other things, but you’ve picked up on “conversion.” Now, of course, you can pick up on multiple points and follow them all. But you can’t do any of this while reading the bulletin, the missalette (Hack! Pooey!) or fiddling with your cell phone. (to be continued... )

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