Volume 33, Number 9 • January 13, 2015

E-edition

Sunday, February 01, 2015
News 
Sections 
E-editions 
 Keywords:
one or more words required
all words required
forced & ordered phrase
Multi forced & ordered phrase
words with exceptions
Help
 
 Issue date:
Date Format: dd-mm-yyyy

   
Good sermon, Father
Posting Date: 06-11-2013


The following column was written by Kathleen T. Choi who writes “In Little Ways” for The Hawaii Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Honolulu. It is reprinted with permission.

Dear Father X,

Every Sunday, as we walk out the door, we shake your hand and say, “Good sermon, Father.” We’re not lying. We’re usually fairly satisfied with what you have to say, but no one is perfect. Even Kobe Bryant misses the occasional easy layup.
You studied preaching in seminary, and presumably your professors gave you tips. We wonder, though, if you know what the average person in the pew is looking for in a homily. Maybe you’d appreciate some feedback. If so, here are some thoughts for your consideration.
First off, your sermon is very important to us. We know that we should read the Bible on our own and maybe participate in a prayer or study group. That’s not possible right now, though, so your homily is basically all the religious instruction we get. Please make it your priority. We understand that you have many demands on your time, but we’re not asking for a 30-minute Billy Graham production. The Vatican says a homily should be about eight minutes long, and that sounds good to us.
One reason we don’t read the Bible on our own is that some passages are confusing. Why did Jesus curse the fig tree for not producing fruit when it wasn’t the season for fruit? Why did Paul send the runaway slave back to his owner? Isn’t slavery wrong?
So, if the Sunday lessons include a difficult passage, please help us understand it. We don’t need a long history lesson, but we appreciate a little background. John 10 makes so much more sense now that you’ve explained how shepherds made a circle of stones, led the sheep inside and lay across the opening to protect them through the

night. That is just like Jesus laying down his life for us. Thanks.
Many books on how to give a speech suggest opening with a joke. That’s not necessary, especially if you don’t normally crack jokes. On the other hand, people always like stories. That’s probably why Jesus told so many. If you’ve got a good story that illustrates your point, we’d love to hear it.
Some priests claim that Protestant ministers have the edge in storytelling because they’re usually married with children. True, but you grew up in a home with parents and siblings. You went to school. You have friends and favorite sports teams. Surely you’ve seen how God acts in everyday circumstances. Tell us about that.
The story doesn’t have to be about you. It can be something you saw on TV or overheard while shopping. For example, Pope Francis recently preached on Luke 24 (the road to Emmaus). He said some people spend so much time complaining about life’s disappointments that they don’t notice Jesus is walking beside them. That’s a clear, simple illustration of how a Scripture passage applies to our everyday life.
We like knowing something about your personal faith, but spare us your pet peeves. Don’t make every homily about the evils of abortion or how we should all tithe. Don’t scold us. Don’t grumble about the people who don’t come to church. We’re here, aren’t we?
Theology is important, but, honestly, we spend very little time pondering the Trinity or the mystery of transubstantiation. Mostly, we worry about our kids, our parents and our jobs. We struggle to forgive those who have hurt us. We wonder why the world is such a mess. We feel guilty that we don’t do more for others. Show us how Christ can help us with these issues right now, and we’ll bless your name. Who knows? We might even tithe.
Respectfully,
Your Parishioners

 
 
 
01-13-2015 - A New Year’s Resolution to Think and Act Anew
Highlights
News - Community
Catholic Charities Offers Community Information Nights for AB 60 and Administrative Relief

Overcoming the challenges facing Daughters of Charity and the sale to Prime Healthcare

SCU’s Bannan Institute Series on Ignatian Leadership

Sections - Columns
Making a Difference: Reflecting on Pope Francis’ 2015 World Day of Peace Message

Sections - Spanish News
El Amanecer del 2015

News - Nation/World
Pope Francis names 15 new cardinal electors, most from global South

Sections - Catholic Schools
The 6th Grade Class at Queen of Apostles School Helps United Way Brighten Someone’s Day

CAS All-School Food Drive a Success

St. Joseph of Cupertino School Gives the Gift of Education for Christmas

Catholic Education for the Poorest: Paradise at a Price

Saint Lawrence Academy Teacher Wins 2014 Digital Innovation in Learning Award

Catholic Schools’ Week 2015!

A message from Bishop Patrick J. McGrath

Sections - Spirituality
Pope Francis’ Message to End the Death Penalty Gives hope to Death Penalty Abolitionist in DSJ

News - In The Diocese
Bishop's Christmas Card Contest 2015

On a Firm Foundation

Church of Ascension Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary with a Jubilee Year