MANILA, Philippines—Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas has urged Catholic priests to always prepare and think carefully about the content of their homilies, saying delivering “boring” sermons is unjust to God and the churchgoers.
“It is unfair to God. It is unfair to the people. It is also unfair to me because I’m depriving myself of the good encounter with God,” Villegas said, admitting that he himself was guilty of it at times.
“The Mass is the highest form of prayer for every Catholic and I, as a priest, should go into the Mass with the utmost preparation,” he said.
In an article posted on the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website, Villegas cited reasons why priests sometimes failed to deliver better quality preaching.
These included, he said, their failure to prepare for the liturgy.
“I [myself] have done that a few times in the past when I rush into the Mass because of the many schedules that preceded it,” Villegas, the incoming president of the CBCP, said, adding that praying before the Mass would help priests prepare for the liturgy.
Drawing from his own experience, Villegas attributed his long and winding homilies to his failure to “know my people well.”
“In other words, I was speaking about hunger when I did not feel the hunger myself. I was speaking about death, sorrow and loneliness but I have not felt the loneliness, the death and the sorrow that the parishioners are going through,” said Villegas.
“We priests can preach to empty stomachs but only if our stomach is as empty as our parishioners. When our life is so different from our parishioners, then we end up giving long and winding homilies. I don’t speak about anyone. I speak about myself and I’m guilty,” he added.