Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What if the Priest's Sermons Are Too Simple?

This problem is epidemic.

QUOTE from a reader of Fr. Z:

The priest in my parish seems to be a very decent and holy Man; but his homilies are super simplistic and boil down to being good and faithful. He also tells a minimum of two jokes per homily.
Have you folks been anecdoted to death yet?

It seems every homily has an anecdote. And I'm not just talking one or two priests.


Every one.

Everything has to be illustrated with a cute little story.

Not a story from the saints or Catholic history. No no no.

It has to be from Reader's Digest.

Is this what they spent four years in theology studying?

I like a good anecdote as much as the next person.

But the anecdote epidemic speaks to what we're not talking  about.
 Take any Bible reading. There's so much about any one that I don't know. History. Language. Jewish culture. The Mosaic Law. Perspectives from Church Fathers. Church teachings. Related theological concepts.

Tell me something that I don't know.

Or something that goes beyond "Love thy neighbour."

And the homily doesn't have to deal directly with the readings.

There's such a treasure trove of Catholic wisdom from ages past, why are we ignoring it?

Now I get that sometimes a priest has to go all Oprah on the crowd and talk about inner healing and self-worth.

I'm not against that. Great Catholic writers talk about these things too.

But does it have to be dumbed down all.the.time?

Does every single homily have to be targeted to a television audience of religious illiterates?

Somehow I doubt the priest-saints of the past had this problem. I suspect they were all excellent homilists.

Now it's all well and good to implement Fr. Z's advice.  It does require an investment of time that I don't have.

But really shouldn't this be obvious?