A ‘sermon' on homilies
Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
The president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines earned a lot of “pogi points” for his admonition to his fellow priests, published in the national media to “stop abusing their homilies”.
When that report came out, so many churchgoers, Catholics, of course, expressed their gratitude and appreciation to Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, also the CBCP president, for his astuteness in recognizing what so many members of their flock have been complaining about: the lengthy, and, in his own words, “long-winding, repetitious, boring, unorganized, unprepared and mumbled homilies.”
How many times have members of their parishes or even dioceses been whispering about such assessments of their mass celebrant's homilies? But who would have the temerity to bring such matter up with the head of their parishes and even with their co-workers in their churches?
To quote further from the admonition of Achbishop Villegas, this is what he said about those attending the masses of the targeted priests: “They are asked to endure Sunday after Sunday our homilies that cannot be understood because we take so long with the introduction, we do not know how to go direct to the point, and we do not know how to end. Be prepared. Be clear. Be seated.” He added.
What a humbling thing for one holding such a prestigious and important position in the church to say. In a way, he is including himself in his own advice to his peers.
Of course it would be unfair and unjust to generalize, but, indeed, we in our provinces, towns and cities, know of some priests who need to be guided by the words of Archbishop Villegas. The homily during the mass is the time that prepares us and conditions us for the most sacred part. Being distracted by an inane homily, or one that just elicits laughter is not the proper ways for participating in such a holy ritual where we affirm our faith.*