The homily will generally be an exposition of either the epistle or gospel, but may pick up some other theme of the faith. As with the lessons, the key to the homily is determining what God is saying to you. It is not necessary for the homily to be the best ever preached for it to speak to you. What God says to you may be something different than the homily’s main point. Avoid being defensive or critical. Be open to what the Holy Ghost has to say (cf. I Corinthians 2:1 -5).

The homily is the transition from the Liturgy of the Word to the Liturgy of the Eucharist (the taking, blessing, breaking and giving of bread). It sums up the scriptural revelation of God in Christ and points us to the altar. The Liturgy of the Word is directed to the people-God revealing himself to man. The Liturgy of the Eucharist is directed towards God-man offering himself to God. The offering of ourselves to God in Christ in the proper response to the biblical revelation.

The Rubric in The Book of Common Prayer directs: “Then followeth the Sermon.” Through the decades nuance and connotation surrounding the word sermon has broadened to include everything from the “fire and brimstone” peroration to the TV preacher rehearsing The Power of Positive Thinking. For this reason, many Catholic churches, both Anglican and Roman, now substitute the close synonym, Homily, to indicate that the topic will (or should be) limited to proclaiming and explaining Christian doctrine or ethics.

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