Robert Waznak, a preacher and for the past twenty-five years a popular teacher of preachers, believes that before we consider how to preach a homily we need to explore what the homily is. That is why An Introduction to the Homily is not just another "how to" book, but a work that leads to a practical understanding of what the Sunday homily is supposed to do. Based on theological and historical foundations, this work provides sound theory for homilists striving to improve their preaching.
Chapter one explores the form of preaching called the homily both from historical and contemporary understandings. It fills a void in many Catholic homiletic texts and articles on preaching by offering a brief overview of the "New Homiletic," a new approach that recognizes other homiletic structures besides the deductive or Aristotelian. Chapter two presents an overview of the preacher from four major images within the Catholic homiletic tradition: the herald, the teacher, the interpreter, and the witness. Chapter three examines the origins of the Lectionary to help understand its place in the preaching event and explores some practical solutions to its problems. Chapter four provides helpful responses to questions concerning practical aspects of the homily.
Hundreds of books on preaching have appeared since Vatican II, yet these homiletic texts rarely include the theological and liturgical insights from Catholic scholars and church documents. In An Introduction to the Homily, Robert Waznak demonstrates how new homiletic scholarship from Christian churches; the insights found in normative Church documents; contemporary theological, liturgical and biblical studies; plus the lived experiences of preachers and people can help us come to understand the function of the homily in the liturgical tradition of the Church.
Chapters are "From Sermon to Homily," "The Preacher as Herald, Teacher, Interpreter, and Witness," "The Lectionary: Richer Fare or Lesser Choice?" and "Questions Often Asked About the Homily."
Robert P. Waznak, SS, is Professor of Homiletics at the Washington Theological Union and co-editor of New Theology Review. He has published books in the areas of homiletics, preaching, and the media and is a presenter of preaching workshops for dioceses and religious communities in the United States.