Saturday, September 02, 2006

On Homilies and Historical-Critical Exegisis

They're not totally compatible, in brief. And 'the method' may obscure what's important:

Historical-critical exegesis tells us a lot about the past, of the moment when the words were first said, of their significance at the time they were said, but such explanations do not always help us understand that the words of Jesus, of the Apostles and of the Old Testament, are spirit and life, with which the Lord speaks to us even today.

I think we should 'defy' the theologians - as the Synod has - by going ahead and helping parish priests better prepare their homilies, to make people sense the presence of the Word: the Lord speaks to us today, not only in the past.

I have been reading in recent days the draft for the post- Synodal Apostolic Exhortation. I have seen with satisfaction that this 'defiance' is kept in the models prepared for homilies. Ultimately, the parish priest must prepare his homily in his context, speaking to his parish.

But he may need some help to understand and make others understand the actual 'present-ness' of the Word of God, which is never a Word of the past, but always a Word for today.

Benedict XVI, speaking to parish priests in Italy.

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