What should preachers aim for in Sunday preaching? In 1982, the USCCB document Fulfilled in Your Hearing: The Homily in the Sunday Assembly answered this question. Here, in a pastoral commentary on Fulfilled in Your Hearing, several Catholic scholars in homiletics, liturgy, and biblical studies both appreciate the abiding insights of Fulfilled in Your Hearing and also propose areas for continuing reflection. Following the four sections of the Bishops' document—The Assembly, The Preacher, The Homily, and Homiletic Method—this commentary emphasizes the document's continuing importance for the initial and ongoing formation of Catholic liturgical preachers, while also inviting conversation about present-day cross-cultural, liturgical, and communication concerns for Catholic preaching.
Priests, deacons, seminarians, bishops, and all others engaged in the preaching task are invited to deepen their appreciation of the homily's unique role in the liturgical life of the church and to stir their enthusiasm for preaching and preaching preparation.
James A. Wallace, CSsR, is professor of homiletics at Washington Theological Union, Washington DC. He is author of Preaching to the Hungers of the Heart: The Homily on the Feasts and within the Rites and The Ministry of Lectors (Liturgical Press), and coauthor of Lift Up Your Hearts, Homilies for the A, B, and C Cycles (Paulist Press).