These study guides are intended to help you reflect on the experiences shared by the homilists. We invite all viewers to find a path of reflection best suited to their needs:

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1.     The Faithful
For anyone interested in considering all the storied ways how the Liturgy of the Word proclaimed through preaching brings us closer to God. Ideas and suggestions for how to preach without preaching by offering testimonies are shared.

2.     Religious & Laity in Formation                                                                                                                       For nuns, priests, deacons, catechists, or lay ministers in formation who will be preaching. Offer simple tools to promote personal reflection, audience analysis, and storytelling to develop good preaching practices.

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3.     Established Preachers
For preachers question around key moments of the interview to encourage homilists to reflect on discovering their unique voice as a preacher. Pinpoint techniques, approaches and best practices of impactful preachers.


IDEAS ON HOW TO USE THESE GUIDES

  • Consider creating a prayer journal. Jot down a few words or phrases as you reflect on the questions that speak to you most.
     
  • Reach out to a brother or sister in Christ to discuss the questions.
     
  • Incorporate the guides into a regular bible study or discussion group at your church.
     
  • Create a tool book of your favorite preaching ideas and techniques that you can use when you are preparing homilies.
     
  •  Incorporate the guides into courses, self-development activities and retreats.

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1.       Father Kasper talks about how many different things in the environment need to work together. What are the things that capture your attention the most? How do these things heighten your experience of the liturgy?

2.       Think about a time when a homily connected to something happening in your life and really spoke to you:
           a.       What was going on in your life?
           b.      What did the preacher say?
           c.       How did what the preacher say help you? 
           d.      Did you share your experience with anyone?
           e.      How was the homily connected to the Liturgy of the Word that day?
           f.        Since this experience have you heard the same readings? Any change?

3.       Can you recall a time when a homily touched on an issue of social justice in a way that helped you?
           a.       What was the issue?
           b.      How did the preacher animate the issue in a way that stuck with you?
           c.       How did the preacher relate this issue to the readings that week?

4.       In addition to the priests/deacons in your parish what other voices would you like to hear? How do you feel these voices will help you and other members of your community enter more deeply into the living Liturgy of the Word?

5.       Read a short excerpt from Father Kasper’s sermon for the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary time (Cycle C)…

Remember last week’s gospel and the five bridesmaids, who out of laziness or apathy failed to take extra oil for their lamps? They ended up outside in the dark, disinvited to the feasting of the wedding banquet. Today, the gospel presents us with that third servant, who instead of investing his master’s money industriously, like the other two servants, buries it in the ground. In the darkness and out of sight. The master calls him out. “You wicked, lazy servant.” Then he too, like those foolish bridesmaids, are excluded. Throw this useless servant out into the darkness outside.

How many times are you and I stymied by fear and anxiety? We fail to act because we lack the courage it takes to do the right thing. To make the difficult choice. Act out of our convictions or face the challenge of tackling head on the issue or problem confronting us. It’s worse than procrastination. It can feel like we are in the darkness. Locked out and helpless. If only we could take the Lord at His word. We can with God’s grace overcome whatever obstacles we face. The psalmist today assures us; “Blessed are you who fear the Lord and walk in His ways, for you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork. Blessed shall you be, and favored.” 

Are there things in your life wright now that are causing fear and anxiety? What are these things? How might your relationship with Christ and your faith community help you tackle these things?

Prayer

Lord, thank you for the power of your Word. Open the eyes and ears of my heart that your Word may penetrate deeply into the daily comings and goings of my life. Help me to discover the words, images, phrases, experiences and stories you have hidden in the homilies I hear that will make your voice real and active for me. Teach me how to share your Word through conversations and most importantly through my actions. Fill me with your Spirit that I might bring the Good News of your Gospel into the world to bring it more hope, justice, joy and light. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. AMEN