24 December 2010

A short homily?

Said Pope Saint Gregory the Great one Christmas day:

Because [by the Lord's bounty] I am going to celebrate the eucharist three times today, I can comment only briefly on the Gospel lesson. But [our Redeemer's] birthday compels me to say something, however short (Homily 7, in Forty Gospel Homilies).

Today I am tempted to follow his example, and likely will.

Because the churches of my three parishes are not quite large enough to hold all of the faithful who will attend - hopefully prayerfully and joyously - the Christmas celebrations in one Mass each, I am celebrating - God willing - five Masses for Christmas: 4:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m., 12:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

I had intended to preach three separate homilies: one at the two Vigil Masses, one at the Midnight Mass on the maxim "what is not assumed cannot be redeemed," and one at the Christmas Day Masses on the victorious Light of the World. I simply do not think I will have the strength to do so.

Pope Gregory would deliver a shorter sermon, but not lessen the ceremonies of the Liturgy. I will do as he has done.


  1. We are so spoiled by our pastor. His homilies are always as long at they need to be (5-8 minutes, maybe) but never lengthy. He makes his point - and often it is a challenging one - he might explain briefly, give an example or restate, and then he wraps it up with a question or a short prayer (my prayer for us is that we ...). I wonder if he's always been gifted so, or if it is something he's acquired in his 30+ years as a priest.

    Sometimes by necessity, be must go to other parishes. Often the priests make good points in their homilies. They are thoughtful and true. But there are so many points and so many things touched upon in a single homily that when they are done, you can't remember any of them.

    Short can sometimes be wonderfully beautiful and instructive. There is a beauty in simplicity.

    May God bless you and give you strength and [much deserved] rest.

  2. Thanks for this relatively early witness to multiple celebrations of the Eucharist on the Nativity!

    If you would like to see the Latin of these 40 homilies of Gregory the Great, they're on Google here. A note about the numbering:

    In the Latin, the first 20 homilies are somewhat haphazardly arranged. The English translator determined to rearrange the first 20 homilies into liturgical order, so the English homily #7 is actually the Latin homily #8.