Can anyone help with me with homily structure?

Hello. I’m a seminary student who transferred dioceses and seminaries. In the process, I was placed in a homiletics class that skips a prior requirement. All I had was a foundations of preaching class and I was skipped to an advanced class on preaching on contemporary and difficult topics. We are given the topic and somehow we must make it relate to the Gospel we’re assigned. I am having a very difficult time, not in what I want to say, but how to structure it. I’ve spoken to the professor and to the academic dean who left the decision to allow me to go back and take the homiletic structures class to the professor. The professor said no because I’m already “in the running” so I have to make it work. I’m totally lost. My foundations class did not include anything beyond a basic one time 30 minute lecture on how to write your homily. That class was more about helping us become comfortable with thinking of what to say and saying it, not how to structure it. I don’t know how to make my homily flow and tie it all together.
I spent countless hours in prayer meditating on what message I was getting and conveying out of the gospel and the topic and how it was relevant to my prospective readers, yet my two homilies so far have been a total disaster.
I’m here to ask if anyone who is a priest or deacon or preacher can point me to a good book or source where I can learn how to do this, how to structure a homily. The class textbooks we’re using do not contain this information, they are: Preaching, the Art & the Craft, Fulfilled in Your Hearing, The Word of The Lord at Mass. I have read them. The professor asked me to seek the help of one of the deacons whom I think is a good preacher, which I did, but their time is limited since they are required to go out and preach on the weekends. If anyone could help me, I’d very much appreciate it. Thank you and God bless you all.

Dear friend,

When I first started to preach, I wrote everything out and then tried to read off the paper without looking and sounding like I was reading it. This didn’t work. I have found that what works for me is to read the Scripture and decide on what main point touches me. I talk to the Lord about it before the tabernacle and basically prepare myself–rather than the homily. I ordinarily don’t try to memorize. When I know what I basically want to say, I just say it. But remember, I make basically one point. I try to use an example to keep it from being all in the abstract. The example is what people usually will remember. Try to use an example of something or someone you know. You can start out with it and then relate the Scripture to it.

When we know what we want to say, we remember it easily. Bishop Sheen used to say, “Glory be to God; if I can’t remember what I want to say, how will the people ever be able to remember it!”

Don’t worry about structure for now. You are speaking about the One you love. Just say it. The more one preaches, the better one becomes. I’ll be praying for you. You may write me here privately by clicking on my name above.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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