I was talking to a priest about the difficulties of giving a good homily. He gave the analogy that it is like walking a tightrope. I’m wondering how long most priests spend in preparing, and if they use good resources for this?
Depends on the priest, depends on the week, depends on what kind of liturgy it is, etc.
During my homiletics training as deacon, we were instructed that a good homily requires at the minimum 1 hour per 1 minute of speaking. So if the homily is 10 minutes, 10 hours. Not necessarily done all in one day but over several days or more. That’s why I like to find out my preaching schedule well in advance.
That’s just a general rule of thumb. But the homilist needs to do homework in regards to exegesis & hermeneutics, etc. You can tell when one is prepared well and one that is slapped together at the very last moment. And before all preparation and during the time of preparation it should be centered in prayer. I also use Lectio Divina…I reread several times the readings and sit and meditate on them, and a word or two will rivet me…and that’s what I build on. I also regularly attend workshops over the years about the preparation of homilies. It’s an ongoing process.
The experience of the priest will of course factor in here. Men who have been priests for many years and have preached through the whole cycle of readings many times, will be able to put together a homily more quickly than a priest who is just beginning. Also, some priests may be more gifted writers or speakers who are able to organize a homily more easily. I imagine that the time frame would vary greatly, certainly some may need to entire 1hour per minute formula or more, others will not.
It also depends on the readings. The PV at my parish told me that sometimes it’s hard to come up with new material for readings that we are so familiar with.
One would hope they prepare them. Some priests buy them in a can.(we had one priest who was not good with english so all his homilies were purchased.
Then again for daily mass it may be very short preparation - at confession before daily mass at a church near my office some of the priest are reading the Magnificate during confession - presumably for that days readings. Then again we had a priest who did not give homilies at daily mass so that would be zero also.
I know our Deacon does spend alot of time researching and working on his.
That formula is pretty shocking. I’m sure if most priests actually did that, the faithful would experience different homilies. I have a hard time when I hear a priest ask our school kids random questions, and then perseverate on any topic, such as sports, Greek gods, favorite foods, etc It can go on for 10-15 minutes, which has nothing to do with the readings.
Corpus Christi we spoke about types of waffles, what types are peoples favorites and where they originated. I would have appreciated hearing the sequence for Corpus Christi, or more related to actual readings.
No kidding a homily on waffles. That’s a new low.
Is there ever an argument for not preparing? The one that I’m thinking of is from the bible when God tells us not to worry about what we will say, and that he will give us the words.
I’m sure developing that kind of trusting relationship with God would take lots of prayer and communication with God though.
That’s a nice thought, and I’m sure it sometimes works out that way, but in my experience, not preparing generally leads to . . . homilies on waffles.
I like pecan waffles from Waffle House. Did everyone leave mass hungry?