Guigo, the fifth prior of the Carthuisan monastery of the Grand Chartreuse, 1was reflecting on the work of copyists, not of homilists, in this line from his collection of Carthusian customs, but I thought of his image of preaching with our hands when I was asked to contribute two homilies to the third volume of of the Homilists for the Homeless project.
Edited by Deacon Jim Knipper, Sick and You Cared For Me contains homilies for each of the Sundays of Year B in the lectionary cycle.2 Each of the writers contributed his or her work to the book, preaching literally with their hands, and all the proceeds go to care for the poor. We have raised more than thirty thousand dollars with the first two volumes.
I am preaching on the 9th Sunday in Ordinary Time (which won't appear next year, or any year soon) and on the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time. The homily for the 9th Sunday reflects on the story of the man with the withered hand, who was healed by Jesus on the Sabbath - about Simon the Stylite on his pillar and the ways in which Sabbath is a time for noticing. On the 21st Sunday, where the readings are from Joshua ("as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord") and John ("these teachings are hard"), it's about Ignatius and the meditation on the two Standards. Choose.3
There are homilies from many voices and traditions. Contributors include Richard Rohr, Jesuits Rick Malloy SJ (his mother was my neighbor for many years) and James Martin, Mike Leach, Fran Szpylczyn, Jan Richardson, Mags Blackie (how many books of homilies have two Ph.D. physical chemists in them?!).
I am giving away a copy of Sick and You Cared For Me to celebrate the start of the new liturgical year. Leave a comment, and on Friday, I'll draw a winner. Prefer a sure thing? You can order a copy from Clearfaith.
1. This is the monastery featured in Into Great Silence - a beautiful film that opens in Advent and covers a full liturgical year.
2. Homilies for cycles A and C are in Naked and You Clothed Me, and Hungry and You Fed Me, both of which won awards from the Catholic Press Association.
3. I chose in writing this not to reflect on the "wives be submissive to your husbands" passage from Paul.