On February 10, 2015, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments presented to the Church a document on the homily titled, “Homiletic Directory”.
We recall that Pope Francis devoted an important chapter to the homily in his Apostolic Exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium" (Chapter Three, Part II, nn.135-144). He says there that “the homily can actually be an intense and happy experience of the Spirit, a consoling encounter with God’s word, a constant source of renewal and growth” (Evangelii gaudium, n.135).
As a result of positive and negative aspects of the state of the homily today as expressed by the synod of bishops, Pope Benedict XVI also offered guidelines for homiletics in his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortations Sacramentum Caritatis (2007) and Verbum Domini (2010).
The Homiletic Directory was prepared bearing in mind also the provisions of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, and subsequent magisterial teachings, especially as contained in the Introduction to the Lectionary and the General Instruction on the Roman Missal.
The Homiletic Directory is a 106-page document divided into two parts and nine chapters. It also has two appendices.
The first part deals with the nature, function and specific context of the homily, the preparation, the presenter and the recipients.
The second part deals with the essential questions of the method and context the homilist must take into consideration in preparing and delivering the homily. It proposes interpretive keys for different cycles of the Church’s calendar. Here the criteria outlined in the first part are put into practice.
In conclusion, there are two appendices. The first shows the link between the homily and the doctrines of the Church as they are presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The second appendix lists Magisterial teachings on preaching.
As we prepare to celebrate the Jubilee of the 800th anniversary of the Dominican Order, we are reminded of the fact that the Order was commissioned to evangelize through the preaching of the Word of God. With the theme of the Jubilee, “Sent to preach the Gospel”, the Order seeks to renew itself by entering into a dynamic process that culminates in sending the friars to preach anew. As those called to preach today, how does this document relate to us? How will it help us to preach anew?
The Master of the Order, fr Bruno Cadoré, is calling on all members of the Dominican family to reflect on this document and to discover how it relates to our preaching mission.
(07 March 2015)