A Starting Point from the Venerable Pope Paul VI — What makes an Evangelizing Eucharistic Homily?

It’s no surprise that preaching has a role to play in evangelization. Pope Paul VI calls it indispensable, enough said (Evangelii Nuntiandino. 42).

Preaching isn’t just restricted to what a priest or deacon does after the Gospel reading at Mass. In our Catholic Church documents, we often hear of the various “forms” of preaching. “Evangelizing preaching takes on many forms, and zeal will inspire the reshaping of them almost indefinitely” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, no. 43). That being said, Pope Paul VI continues, reminding us that the Eucharistic homily “receives special force and vigor” from its place in the Eucharistic celebration, and thus is “an important and very adaptable instrument of evangelization.”

But (here’s the catch from the Venerable Paul VI!), “it is necessary to know and put to good use the exigencies and possibility of the homily, so that it can acquire all its pastoral effectiveness.” This particular form of preaching should:

  • express the profound faith of the priest/deacon
  • be impregnated with love
  • be presented in a simple, clear, and direct manner
  • profoundly depend on Gospel teaching
  • be faithful to the magisterium
  • be animated with a balanced apostolic ardor
  • be well-adapted
  • [and finally…] full of hope, fostering belief, and productive of peace and unity.

As an apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Nuntiandi, is addressed to all of the faithful, spread out across the entire globe. Needless to say, a Eucharistic homily that fulfills Pope Paul VI’s vision can and should vary according to time and place. Here at Practical Evangelization, we’ll be keeping an eye out for ideas on what contributes to an evangelizing Eucharistic homily here in the contemporary United States.

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