Guiding Little Ones

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A response to: Synod Propositions 11-15

When I was in seminary, our homiletics faculty stressed that proper preparation must take place and not shoot from the hip. The question as reported in the synod “What do they say to me?” can be problematic. As St. Peter said in his second letter, “no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the Holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God.”

When I prepare for my weekend homilies especially, I pray that the Lord remove any of my own biases, that only what he wants me to preach comes forth. Unfortunately, the People of God have often only heard the “nice and fuzzies” and preachers have failed to include the cautionary messages that Jesus has also passed on to the apostles. This is evident in the failure of a large percentage of Catholics voting for an aggressively pro-abortion presidential candidate. Church leaders have failed to stress that life issues are above economic issues.

Many preachers focus on the friendship of Jesus as our brother but not enough on what he said in his parable of the Kingdom of God being like the separation of the goats and sheep. He is human; he is also divine and we must and need to remember that we will be judged. Priests and deacons who preach homilies will also be judged on how they taught their flocks. Jesus warned about leading his little ones astray.

Preaching is a double-edged sword; we need to be careful to preach the good news — all of it, not only what it says to me but what has been the traditional interpretation of the Scriptural passage.

Rev. John M. Zimmerman

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