Ars Praedicandi: Homily for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

On Sunday I presided at our community Eucharist here at Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville. I thought I’d pass along a link to the video and a short excerpt of my homily for the Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time.

The video can be viewed by visiting this link: and clicking on the link titled “2/07/2016.” The homily begins at about 21:30.

Readings for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time:

Isaiah 6: 1-2a, 3-8

Psalm 138: 1-3, 4-5, 7-8

1 Corinthians 15: 1-11

Luke 5: 1

Homily Excerpt: 

Holiness does not mean that you are strange, or weird. Rather, I think today’s readings tell us something quite different about what happens when we are seized by an image of the utter holiness of God. And in both the Old Testament and the Gospel (and you can see why the people that made the lectionary chose these two readings) we see that the response to the holiness of God involves first, radical self honesty and then a call to get up and do something, And I find both of those two things surprising.

First off, the radical self honesty. I find it surprising that after Isaiah has his image of the temple shaking, and its filled with smoke and there are angels all bowing before God and the first thing he says is, “I am a man of unclean lips.”

Similarly, in the Gospel reading, after our Lord and God Jesus works the miracle, the miraculous catch of fish, Simon says “I am a sinful man.”

I would have thought the first response would have been to sing Holy God We Praise Thy Name or something like that. But they both say, I am a sinner. I take this to mean, not that we put ourselves down and grovel in a self-centered sort of way, but rather, this awesome image of God’s wonderful holiness surrounds us and encourages us so that we can be honest. So we can tell the truth.


  1. Thank you, Fr. Anthony. An excellent homily presented without notes. The fruit of much Lectio Divina and Centering Prayer?

  2. What a splendid example of liturgical preaching. An insightful reading of the text with pastoral insight, integrating the scriptures and the liturgy and leading to mission. I thought it was very imaginative to connect the healing coal that touches Isaiah’s lips to the chalice that touches ours in communion.

    The delivery was low key without being bland. At crucial points one senses the emotional intelligence of the preacher, something that conveys content as surely as the words and concepts and images do.

    Nice vestments, too. 🙂

  3. Your listeners will remember much of what you said, because you spoke with pauses and did not overwhelm them. I applaud you especially for tying the Word into the Eucharist in a way that will make everyone feel deeply the experience of the prophet.

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