What to do when your parish priest comes down with Kerygma

BishopSheen

The late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
was know to be a frequent “sufferer” 

The Sunday homily as an integral part of the Liturgy of the Word, can only be renewed and energized by the Holy Spirit.

Kerygma or the proclamation of the Paschal Mystery should lead to metanoia 5, a progressive (or radical) conversion of the heart to the Gospel. But, it is the Holy Spirit who is the great “Converter” waiting to be “stirred up” or “fanned into flame” 6 in the hearts of the faithful, through the preaching of Christ crucified.

As Pope Paul VI said in his very powerful apostolic exhortation “On Evangelisation”: “…the Holy Spirit is the principal agent of evangelization. It is he who inspires each individual to proclaim the Gospel, and it is he who causes the word of salvation to be understood and accepted.

It was not by chance that the inauguration of evangelization took place on the morning of Pentecost under the inspiration of the Spirit”. 7 It is noteworthy that the greatest aspect of the renewal of the Eucharistic Liturgy that Vatican II has brought is the introduction of the epiclesis, 8 right before the words of consecration of the bread and wine.

That is why preaching in the power of the Holy Spirit is essential. Hopefully, this kerygmatic preaching will elicit conversion which in turn awakens the desire in the believer for a deeper knowledge and understanding of the faith, which is catechesis.

However, what is sorely needed in our parishes, before faith formation or catechesis, which is, in itself, very important, is boldness in the kerygma, the proclamation of Christ crucified and risen.

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The (free on-line) Archbishop Sheen Audio Library

“Renegade” Episcopal Rector explains why he decided to become a Catholic priest.

The Rev. David Ousley was baptized a Methodist in 1951, was ordained a priest of the Episcopal Church in 1979, and left it in 1999 for the Anglican Church in America.

And on Saturday, this 61-year-old married father of three will make one more ecclesiastical leap: he will be ordained a priest of the Roman Catholic Church in a 11 a.m. Mass at Holy Cross Church in Mount Airy.

He is “swimming the Tiber,” as Anglicans call conversion to Catholicism — a reference to the river that runs through Rome — but the white-bearded Ousley will not emerge from his swim on some strange and foreign shore.

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Editor’s note: You don’t have to be a renegade to experience metanoia … a profound change of heart and subsequent spiritual conversion. Witness the power of God’s grace in the life of this man … and this man’s willingness to cooperate with that divine grace.

The Instinct of Repentance

A large measure of the language of repentance is found in the word repentance itself. It is a Latin cognate (coming into English through the French). Rooted in the Latin word paenetentia, repentance has long held associations with crime and punishment. Our prisons are penitentiaries, though repentance of a true sort is rarely their result. To be given a penance also has had a sense of a punishment given for sins forgiven.

This differs greatly from the original language of the New Testament in which repentance is metanoia, a change in the mind (nous). The word nous, in Eastern Christian tradition, is often used interchangeably with the word heart. Repentance is an inner change of heart. Repentance is not concerned with clearing our legal record but with being changed – ultimately into the likeness of Christ.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10).

The language of repentance is part of a forensic legacy within a segment of Christian history that has marked our culture. To hear Christ say in Scripture, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” is often misheard – with the forensic message embedded in our language replacing the language of the heart proclaimed by Christ. Thus the Christian who seeks to follow the gospel (in English) finds that he has to make an effort to re-translate what he hears. This deeper matter of repentance (metanoia) is heard even in the prophets of the Old Testament:

“Now, therefore,” says the Lord,“Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. So rend your heart, and not your garments;return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm (Joel 2:12-13).

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