instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Re-establishing a central theme of Catholic preaching

Fr. Philip Neri Powell (riffing on Phil Snider) proposes a way out of "the modern homiletical crisis":
The task of Catholic homiletics in the 21st century is to explore ways of returning a sense of the "infinite qualitative distinction" btw Creator and creature to our preaching w/o portraying God as inaccessible. Part of this project then will be to re-establish the event of the Incarnation as a central theme of Catholic preaching.
I completely agree that, if you are not preaching a God Who is both transcendent and immanent, then you are not preaching the God Who Is, and bad things will follow.

I am particularly enthusiastic over the idea of re-establishing the event of the Incarnation as a central theme of Catholic preaching (even as I am sobered by the thought that this theme needs re-establishing in Catholic teaching).

It is in Jesus Christ -- and only in Jesus Christ, true God and true man, that we find the transcendent and the immanent not only balanced but united. We cannot love without keeping the commandments, and we cannot keep the commandments without loving. We cannot do either apart from Jesus. We can't know, and therefore can't love, Jesus apart from His Incarnation.

The Incarnation is not something the Son did in order to be able to reveal the Father to us thirty years later. The Incarnation is itself the revelation of the Father.