Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
If you do not see me around for the next few weeks, it is for a good reason. I am away teaching preaching.
Every summer I teach a couple of weeks through my alma mater, St. Meinrad Seminary in southern Indiana. My seminary provides formation and teaching for the men preparing for ordination to the permanent diaconate of various dioceses. I help out as an adjunct instructor.
This week my co-instructor and I are teaching fifteen men from the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware. The second week, we will teach eight men from the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois.
During the week, they give several homilies. We review them as a group and one-on-one on video. We practice giving constructive feedback and how to get constructive feedback from parishioners (more on this next week).
We talk about how, in the old days, the homily was like a lecture that explained matters of faith and morals. For example, the priest might talk about the Ten Commandments, one commandment each week for ten weeks. He might explain the historical background of the scriptures.
The Church teaches us that preaching is more like the Road to Emmaus. In the gospel of Luke, the risen Jesus joined two disciples who were walking on Easter Sunday to the village of Emmaus. (They did not recognize him.) Along the way, he talked about the scriptures so that they came to understand his death and resurrection. During the evening meal and the breaking of the bread, their eyes were opened. They ran back to the other disciples in Jerusalem, telling them, “We have seen the Lord!”
The homily, like the Road to Emmaus, looks at our lives from the perspective of the death and resurrection of Christ. It leads us to communion and mission.
Preaching is like eyeglasses. Without my glasses, I cannot read a book or drive my car. Trees are a green glob. With my eyeglasses, I can see the green leaves on trees and go about my day without walking into a wall.
Preaching does not interpret scripture any more than I talk about my eyeglasses. Who cares to hear about the features of my eyeglasses? Their value is that they help me see the world as it is. Preaching, like eyeglasses, interprets our lives through the lenses of scripture and tradition.
Bishop Robert Barron has a good commentary on Peter’s speech in the Acts of the Apostles and how it is a model of preaching. Check it out
I also teach preaching to the men of our Diocese of Orlando preparing to become deacons like Deacon Dave and Deacon Walt. The fifteen or so men being ordained in October are the first group that I taught. Pray for them!
Teaching preaching is in part out of my self-interest. Like you, I need to hear good preaching. I need to hear what God is doing in the world and how I can live in Christ.
The next couple of weeks, I will talk about how you can get more out of the homily and help me preach better.
Be assured that you are in my prayers while I am away. If you need a priest, please contact the Nativity parish office 407-322-3961 and Fr Bob Markunas will get in touch with you. I will return to the parish office on Tuesday, August 18.
Check out candidates on your ballot through the FCCB Candidate Questionnaire Project. It helped me to know where state and federal candidates stood on matters concerning human life and dignity and the advancement of the common good. The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops (FCCB) is a nonpartisan public policy voice on behalf of the Catholic Bishops of Florida.
“In the Catholic tradition,” our bishops write, “responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation.” The Florida primary election is August 18. Be virtuous and vote!
Sunday Digital Worship Aid
Nativity Longwood .
on Thursday, July 30 at 11:00AM