This past Sunday, Southern California enjoyed some lovely warm weather so after Mass on Sunday, I suggested to the Digihusband that we take our Digispawn out to lunch at the patio at The Tustin Brewery, especially since it was unlikely to be crowded now that the football season is over.
A topic of conversation that arose was about preaching. One thing we both agree was that many Catholic priests, alas, could stand to sneak in and sit in the back of their Protestant bretheren to learn about some fine, down-home homilizin'. Maybe it is because the Protestant services is so focused on the Word - not having the Euchraist in its True Form - but whether it is the "talk back" church of the Baptists or the detailed exegesis of Methodists, they live up to the term "preacher man". Meanwhile, down at St. Michael of Our Lady of the Blessed Novena, Father too often seems to take a trip to Platitude Island and the homily is like cotton candy - sweet and airy, but not much substance.
That is not always the case, of course. My husband is particularly fond of one priest's homilies when Father spends some time during the week to really reflect on what the Scripture says. When Father has the focus, it's filet mignon, baby . . . but if he doesn't, as my husband said, you are left wondering why in blazes there were three readings and what is their connection. Sort of like going to a cocktail party and getting handed a plate with a pig-in-blanket, a Ritz cracker with some spinach dip, and a piece of melon.
I have to confes, I look forward to reading Fr. Martin Fox's homilies each week at his blog. I have to ask - and Fathers, please note I accept anonymous comments here - why are Catholic priests sometimes lackluster about preaching? Is it a fear of offending a congregant who might go and find another church, and that's another $20 lost from the basket every week? Is it pride that keeps a priest from looking for inspriation other than his own head? How much time each week should a priest devote to preparation of his sermon?
I would like to know - what makes for good Catholic preaching? Certainly, there are some fine examples on EWTN - who would you emulate or study to improve your homilies?
Update to posting: When I was writing this, I was reminded of a quote that Tara had on her blog, from her priest, the relentless Fr. Erik:
"The priest's life is not his own. He does not live it for himself and his personal fulfillment, but for the salvation of souls.”
Reading that, I do not expect my priest to be Supercleric or to never suffer a moment of doubt, but if that is his chosen vocation, then I do expect him to give 100% in his public ministry. My clients expect no less of me when I stand next to them before the bench.
And if any of the two I have sometimes referred to as "the Bad Boyz of SanTana" are reading this, you guys are great because if I did not feel that way, you KNOW I would say something about it.