THE CATHOLIC LECTIONARY WEBSITE
compiled by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.
Basic Steps for Biblical Preaching
& Resources for Preaching
Basic Steps for Biblical Preaching
- Recall that preaching is a vocation, a God-given ministry, to share God’s Word with others.
- Ask God to open your mind and heart, so that you can hear and understand the scriptures.
- Ask God to “inspire” you, to work in and through you during your preparation process.
- At least one week in advance (if possible), read the scriptures on which you will be preaching.
- Reread the texts every day, at least briefly, so they remain fresh in your mind during the day.
- Meditate on the meaning of the scriptural texts: What is God saying to me/us in this Word?
- Consider the people to which you will be preaching: Who are they? What is their situation?
- What is going on around us, in our society/world, which may need to be addressed in your homily?
- In your Study Bible, read any introductions and footnotes available for the texts you are using.
- Using several Bible commentaries, study the texts and their historical and literary contexts.
- Consider the inter-relationships between the texts (esp. the First Reading, Psalm, and Gospel).
- Study the liturgical/seasonal contexts: What are the readings for the previous and coming weeks?
How are they related to the readings on which you will be preaching?
- Think about what the most important point, the principle message of your preaching will be.
- Write a basic outline to structure your homily: Introduction, Three Main Parts, Conclusion.
- Choose what illustrations you might use, from Bible, other literature, real life experience, etc.
- Write out the full text (or at least a detailed bullet-point outline) of your homily.
- Practice! Practice! Practice! in front of a mirror, with a sound system, and/or with family & friends.
- Make an audio or video recording, so that you can see and hear yourself more objectively.
- Ask some people to give you honest feedback, with constructive suggestions for improvement.
- Listen to or watch the audio or video recording, and consider what and how you could improve.
- Reread your text, analyzing its focus, content, structure, length, vocabulary, relevance, etc.
- Thoroughly revise your text, improving whatever you can, in big and small ways alike.
- Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite; incorporate whatever feedback you received, as appropriate.
- Pray some more; ask for God’s guidance and inspiration; let God use you as an instrument.
- Be aware that when delivering your homily, the focus should be on God’s Word, not on you!
- Deliver your homily with conviction (believe what you say) and humility (keep focus on God).
- Speak professionally: use clear diction, appropriate volume, pace, gestures, body language, etc.
Note: If you are preaching again on the same scriptures, repeat steps 7-10 before your next homily.
Resources for Preaching
RESOURCES ON THE WEB:
- “Lectionary for Mass” (http://catholic-resources.org/Lectionary/) – by Fr. Felix Just, S.J.
Overview charts, thematic analyses, resource links, ecclesial documents, preaching resources
- “Biblical Bibliography” (http://catholic-resources.org/Bible/Bibliography.htm)
Bible Commentaries, Dictionaries, Atlases, Concordances, Introductions, Parallels, etc.
- “Preachers’ Exchange” (http://www.preacherexchange.com) – by Fr. Jude Siciliano, O.P.
- “Liturgy Preparation” (http://www.liturgy.com) – from Oregon Catholic Press (subscr.)
- Liturgy Links (http://liturgy.slu.edu/links_longlist.html) – Center for Liturgy (St. Louis Univ)
THEOLOGY OF THE WORD
- Fulfilled in Your Hearing: The Homily in the Sunday Assembly. USCCB, 1982.
- Preaching the Mystery of Faith: The Sunday Homily. USCCB, 2012.
- Fred B. Craddock. Overhearing the Gospel: Preaching and Teaching the Faith to Persons Who Have Heard It All Before. Nashville: Abingdon, 1986.
- Mary Katherine Hilkert. Naming Grace: Preaching and the Sacramental Imagination. New York: Continuum, 1997.
- Eugene L. Lowry. The Sermon: Dancing the Edge of Mystery. Nashville: Abingdon, 1997.
- Timothy Radcliffe. “The Sacramentality of the Word,” in Liturgy in a Postmodern World (ed. Keith Pecklers, S.J.; London: Continuum, 2003).
- Barbara Brown Taylor. When God is Silent. Cambridge: Cowley, 1998.
CRAFT OF PREACHING
- Walter J. Burghardt, S.J. Preaching: The Art and the Craft. New York: Paulist, 1987.
- David Buttrick. Homiletic: Moves and Structures. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1987.
- Fred B. Craddock. Preaching. Nashville: Abingdon, 1985.
- Stephen Vincent DeLeers. Written Text Becomes Living Word: The Vision and Practice of Sunday Preaching. Liturgical Press, 2004.
- O. C. Edwards, Jr. Elements of Homiletic: A Method for Preparing to Preach. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1990.
- Richard Carl Hoefler. Creative Preaching and Oral Writing. CSS Publishing, 1978.
- Alfred McBride, O.Praem. How to Make Homilies Better, Briefer, and Bolder. OSV, 2007.
- Eduardo A. Samaniego, SJ. If You Preach It, They Will Come. Resource Publications, 2006.
- Kenneth Untener. Preaching Better: Practical Suggestions for Homilists. Paulist, 1999.
- James A. Wallace, C.Ss.R. Preaching to the Hungers of the Heart: The Homily on the Feasts and within the Rites. Liturgical Press, 2002.
- Robert P. Waznak, S.S. An Introduction to the Homily. Liturgical Press, 1988.
COLLECTIONS OF SERMONS
- Michael E. Bulson. Believe What You Read: Timeless Homilies for Deacons. Paulist, 2006. –
3 volumes: Liturgical Cycle A, B, C.
- Walter J. Burghardt, S.J., Sir, We Would Like To See Jesus: Homilies from a Hilltop. New York: Paulist, 1982.
- Michael Warner, ed. American Sermons: The Pilgrims to Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: The Library of America, 1999.
- Robert P. Waznak, S.S. Like Fresh Bread: Sunday Homilies in the Parish. New York: Paulist, 1993.
- See http://catholic-resources.org/Lectionary/Bibliography.htm for many other collections of homilies for Sundays and Weekdays, based on the liturgical year.
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This page was last updated on
September 8, 2015
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