The deacons of the Archdiocese who have been ordained for less than three years met at Oscott College on 5 April for a day’s reflection on the opportunities available for the homily to bring the joy of the gospels to all those listening.
The day started with Fr Rob Taylerson reflecting on the opportunities that are available to learn more about the gospels and their context before preparing a homily. Such resources are valuable, but what also made a lasting impression on the group was the need to pray not only about the readings for the homily, but also for the people who will be receiving the homily for the deacon to appreciate more the circumstances in which the homily is experienced.
There followed a tour of the museum with its rich and varied history of Catholicism in Birmingham and the wider area. There are regular tours of the College including the museum that are highly recommended.
There followed a presentation by Fr David Bazen, the Archdiocese’s Director for the Permanent Diaconate about Pope Francis’ messages about the homily in Evangelii Gaudium. He points out that we all recognise the importance of the homily, but it has become something that all suffer over: clergy in preparing it and laity in listening to it!
But His Holiness also identifies that the homily ‘takes up once more the dialogue which the Lord has already established with his people’ and it is for the preacher to ‘contemplate the word, but also contemplate his people’ that he may be ‘enlightened’ to make ‘positive preaching’ that ‘offers hope, points to the future and does not leave us trapped in negativity.’
So let us pray for our recently ordained deacons that they may embrace the call of Pope Francis with respect to homily preparation and that our congregations may be open to the realisation that the homily is ‘not entertainment’ but leading to the ‘life-changing communion with God’.