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Encountering Christ Through Scripture (Part 2)

Let me mention three items in this week’s reflection. the first item deals with CONFESSION. Several people have asked if Confession could be made available at another time besides 4:00 PM on Saturdays. Sports, school, grocery shopping, activities, dinner… make it difficult to go during that time. SO, I’ll be available for Confession at two other times: From 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM on Monday evenings and from 6:00 AM to 7:00 AM on Tuesday mornings. Both times I’ll be in church in the confessional. Hope to see you soon.

The second item has to do with liturgy, specifically HOMILIES. ….

Three components of good liturgy are Homily – Hymnody – Hospitality. Over the next few weeks we (or rather, “I”) will be focusing on the “homily” component. After addressing whether the acoustics of the church are in good order, to assist a priest to better “P-O-U-R” the Word of God into the hearts of the believers, it has been suggested that priests look at four areas of each homily. First, is the homily Passionate (Delivered with conviction and emotion drawn from prayer and from the heart of the priest)? Next, is it Organized (Does the homily clearly connect points that people can follow logically)? Is it Understandable (Using words that people can grasp and follow both theologically and linguistically)? Finally, is the homily Relevant (Connecting the homily with people’s lives and to actions that they can take that week)?

I draw these  insights from author, speaker and consultant Pat Lencioni and from speaker, author and scripture scholar Jeff Cavins.  They present these components in their webinar entitled, “The Four Ingredients of an Amazing Homily” found on The Amazing Parish website. Last week I asked for your input concerning whether the homily was AUDIBLE enough. 88% of the parishioners who responded said “yes” (72% Very Good; 14% Good). I did receive some excellent technical feedback from some who were sitting in the left-hand wing, facing the altar. Several said that the volume was too soft but then it came back up to a good level but first with a loud and annoying “pop.” In addition, 8 people said that the sound level was only “fair” or even “poor.” I subsequently found out that a few of the hearing aid units were either out of power and needed to be recharged or were possibly broken.  This is valuable information! This is why I’m doing this. Some people’s experience of the liturgy last week was not good. Unfortunately, they might have left Mass discouraged but I would never have known that this was the case or why Mass that day was not “excellent” for them. They probably would not have told me either and, unfortunately, I can’t fix what I don’t know.      This week, I’ll ask you to go to the kiosk in the lobby of the church and let me know whether the homily was delivered with conviction and emotion drawn from prayer and from the heart of the priest – in other words how “PASSIONATE” did the homily seem to you? Now, let me build on some ideas that I introduced last week on Encountering Christ Through the Scriptures, which I introduced last week.

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Last week I began writing about “Encountering Christ Through the Scriptures.”  I mentioned a parishioner who wrote that, in spite of the importance of this component of St. Monica’s direction, many parishioners might find it challenging unless they were given a “tool box” to fulfill this. He also indicated that different people will need different tools depending on where they fell on the faith /spiritual / relationship-with-Christ continuum. So let’s look at some scriptural materials that are out there.

When I first started developing an interest in the Bible, someone handed me a copy of Our Daily Bread. For a busy person, this is a Godsend (sorry for the pun). There is a page for each day – and it’s a small page! At the top is a scripture passage, usually only one line. In the middle is a short reflection followed by a prayer. To read the entire devotion will probably take two to three minutes – max!  To go a bit deeper, one can always go back and re-read the reflection or meditate on the Scripture passage. It’s a gem for busy people who desire something simple to get in touch with Christ through Word in the midst of a busy schedule. It comes in 3 formats: print, mobile or you can have the reflection sent daily via email.

If you are looking for something a bit deeper, and especially if you occasionally go to daily Mass, there are two fine publications: Give Us this Day, and Magnificat (booklet version) or Magnificat-Online. Both publications offer the readings and some of the prayers for Mass, reflections by top rated spiritual writers, liturgical calendars, information and prayers from the saint-of-the-day as well as prayers pertaining to the liturgical season. In addition, some include the prayers from the “Liturgy of the Hours” – the official prayer of the Catholic Church which includes a short version of Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer.

 

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