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:
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.
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.
FATHER ROBERT SHEERAN
Think about the next mass where you will be a homilist. Imagine the parishioners. How might you characterize them? Are there any people or groups of people sticking out in your mind? What is grabbing your attention? What might be on their minds? What are their deepest longings, and needs?
Fr. Sheeran says, “I love the bible. I think the scriptures are my life. The Lord is a lamp for my feet.” How is the Lord a lamp for your feet? Reflect on the Liturgy of the Word for your next homily….
Think about a time when the Lord has been a lamp for your steps forward? What was the situation, people, actions, thoughts, feelings and the results of letting this bit of Jesus’ wisdom guide your steps? How might you encourage people to unpack scripture more as a relevant lamp to light the steps of their daily thoughts, intentions and actions?
Fr. Sheeran talks about three things preachers should strive for in their homilies:
a. Inform people.
b. Give them something to digest (“delight them”).
c. Inspire people to action.
Consider the readings for your next homily. Guided by the Holy Spirit can you discern the most salient thing you are being called to Inform on…. How can you delight people (think in terms of how to refresh their imaginations bringing them to state of wonder – and less in terms of entertaining – the two might go together but not necessarily) and lastly what’s the call to action. How can people leave the celebration of the mass and bring the Word of God into their lives and bring living hope to others?
Preaching has the power to change lives. How will you creatively engage people with illustrating the living power of the Word? Consider where and how you might insert humor as a way of keeping people engaged with you.
Fr. Sheeran talks about the preacher as a witness, interpreter, herald and a prophet. In what ways do you see yourself playing these roles?
He speaks about the dangers of confusing our personal issues with prophecy. Are you aware of any hot buttons that might cloud your ability to be present with the Spirit to be a prophet of the moment?
Lord, thank you for entrusting me with the opportunity to bring the light of your Word to my brothers and sisters. Guide me as I prepare to imagine the people you will be speaking to. Help me consider their needs, longings, and desires. Grant me the power of your Holy Spirit that I might be kindle the Light of your word to guide our feet on a path that leads us closer and closer to you. May the words you place in my mouth bring more of your Father’ Love and Glory to our world here and now. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. AMEN