Monday, May 14, 2007

It Might Be a Bad Homily If....

There's an amusing list of the top ten signs that you might be listening to a bad homily listed on this blog.

These were among my favorites:


This is the homiliy we usually hear in our suburban parishes. Love = quiescene / Fighting for what you love = evil. If this theme describes what you're hearing ... it might be a bad homily.


Beware of homilies that start with anecdotes about cute crap. "A boy at camp whose mother sent him cookies ..." "There was a woman who found she had a terminal illness ..." Anything with a Reader's Digest flavor to it is probably from, which is what I call the clearing house for shallow thinking sermons that fit easily into a template. If your priest sounds like he's beginning his talk with a canned anecdote ... it might be a bad homily.

[Oh this one is SOOO spot on! This is usually my most common complaint!]

This is very common. The priest doesn't say anything wrong or heretical per se, but he makes a huge implication about the nature of the Faith in what he leaves out of his homily, in what he does not say.

So, for example, if speaking on Our Lord's commission to the apostles at the end of the Gospel of John ("Feed my sheep" "Someone will lead you, Peter, where you do not want to go"), a bad homilist will focus on how important it is that we must care for the poor, and leave it at that. True enough, but what about Our Lord's promise to Peter that in feeding his sheep and tending his flock he will be persecuted? There's an edge to this reading that a bad homilist will always cut away, giving us the gelded interpretation.

This is akin to discussing "King Lear" and saying, "a daugther should be nice to her father". Well, true, but that sure leaves a lot out.

If your homilist Doesn't Get it Wrong, but Doesn't Get it Right Enough ... it might be a bad homily.


If your homilist tells more jokes than Heny Youngman with a fiddle ... it might be a bad homily.

He asks for readers' input, so feel free to go add your own!

Curtsy to Mark Shea for the link!


Peter said...

I'm not sure where it fits but one of my first experiences of Catholic 'homilies' was an assertion that Jesus was a rebel against the Church authorities. The only real sin (according to this guy) was to be a Church authority and virtue was to rebel with Christ. Doesn't seem to fit any on that list eh?

Btw Stephanie.. I tagged you on my blog for a Meme. I'm looking forward to seeing your version of this one too! :)

Stephanie said...

Wow...yeah, I'd say that's a bad homily, lol!

Off to check out the meme :-)

Cheryl said...

A bad homily: One which completely misunderstands the meaning of a passage, especially if being parroted because the original author of the sermon/homily is so respected by the current speaker as to not have been capable of any mistakes...

I still twitch when I think of the sermon one of our members gave on the "Great Speckled Bird". He compleeeeeeeeeeeetely missed that the bird was speckled and outcast because of *sin*, and was using it as a "keep the faith/different=good" type of message. The sermon had been originally written by his grandfather, who had been a traveling preacher. S. had this man on a pedestal the likes of which you would not believe.

Aaaaaaaaaanyhow. Not that it really fits the list, but misinterpretation/completely missing the context = baaaaaad homily.

Stephanie said...

Lol!! I must have missed this post when you first put, yeah that's a big mess up, ha!!