Biblical preaching and the Joy of the Gospel

Ronald D. Wit???herup PSS

This article takes a closer look at the papal teaching contained in the recent document Evangelii Gaudium. Ronald D. Witherup PSS is Superior General of the Society of the Priests of St Sulpice.

One of the most striking aspects of Pope Francis? post-synodal apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) is the long section devoted to the homily. Through a series of homilies in this journal based on the four Gospels, Gerald O?Collins SJ is exploring the impact of this teaching, an exercise I applaud. I also think, however, that a review of the papal teaching itself can be instructive for preachers of the Word.

The context of preaching
In Evangelii Gaudium the homily is addressed in twenty-five numbered paragraphs (135-159) of Chapter III, which is entitled ?The Proclamation of the Gospel.?1 It is evident at the outset, then, that preaching a homily is only part of a larger enterprise, namely, the proclamation of the Gospel message by all the baptized, in word and in deed (111).

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