The Speaking Word: Homilies That Inspire

Author: Fr. Dominic Emmanuel SVD

Publisher: St. Pauls

Publication Year: 2021

Pages: 502 pgs.

MRP: ₹ 480 /-

ISBN: 978-93-5015-392-5

Available at the Pauline Book Center in Mumbai and in their online store.

“Gaining the Kingdom of God with the Lord Jesus is better than gaining a chance to be on Kaun Banega Crorepati with Amitabh Bachchan.”

You can find the above saying and many other interesting and eye-catching nuggets in Fr. Dominic Emmanuel’s latest book for priests and other religious. ‘The Speaking Word’ is a small collection of inspiring homilies for years A, B, and C to aid Catholic priests in their sermons at Sunday Mass. The book makes it a point to indicate that it is a privilege and duty of priests to peel the Word of God in their sermons like the Breaking of the Bread in the Eucharist.

It emphasizes that the laity wants to know more about Theology and the Word of God. So as priests and religious, one must not fail to impart excellent and heartful homilies to inspire the laity to lead better lives as dutiful Catholics. The points mentioned in these Sunday homilies can aid priests in bringing forth the fact that the Holy Bible is not merely information but an experience of Christian salvation and the key to becoming genuine Christians. Fr. Dominic Emmanuel’s book primarily guides Catholic priests in preparing soul-stirring homilies that remain with the reader. These in-depth homilies bring out the fact that we must not only hear the Good News but also ‘do’ the Good News.

Fr. Dominic Emmanuel manages to capture his readers' attention by introducing personal and secular elements at the beginning of his Sunday sermons and then analyzing the readings at Mass. While doing so, however, he makes sure to mention that Sunday Mass is not merely just about the priest and his sermon, but about Lord Jesus, who gives the faithful the Eucharist. It focuses on the fact that our faith stems from the faith of the patriarch and common ancestor Abraham. Thus, a Catholic priest preparing his homilies should realize that the laity is not called to be ‘pilgrims’ but ‘nomads’ in the world because a pilgrim knows where they are going. However, a nomad of Christ is led to unknown paths to bring salvation to others of the most unusual kind.

Fr. Dominic also focuses on everyday occurrences in the news to aid the content of the sermons and excerpts from excellent Catholic reading material to aid the understanding of the texts mentioned in the Holy Bible. While doing so, he reminds us that we, as Catholics, unlike Christians of other denominations, are not a people of ‘the religion of the book’. Instead, we are people of the living Word of God.

The author implores Catholic priests not to be afraid of analyzing the Word of God because that is the best way to bring the essence of the Trinity to their congregations. Besides mentioning the three readings and analyzing them, here are some of the other points that one can read and reflect on in this book ‘The Speaking Word’:

1. The writings of Pope Francis and quotations from many Catholic saints like Mother Teresa.

2. The importance of the Holy Family as an evangelizing group if not the primary evangelizing group in the Church.

3. The fact that the Bible needs to be lived rather than just read for information.

4. That few billion people doing many billion acts of kindness can change the world.

5. To be faithful people of God, one needs to get out of one’s comfort zone and reach out to others.

6. That the Lord Jesus, while being tested in the desert, was with the wild beasts; he was not afraid of them, so should we be fearful of the wild beasts in our life?

7. The Holy Spirit is not really understood nor relied upon, and as Catholics, one needs to change that.

8. Have we as Catholics experienced the Joy of the Gospel as Pope Francis mentions?

Fr. Dominic Emmanuel, through this book, mentions some aspects of his life as a priest of the SVD Society founded by Saint Arnold Janssen. He highlights the fact that several incidents in his life as a Catholic priest made him realize that without the Word of God and the Eucharist, it would have been challenging for him to serve the Catholic community through the various ministries he was and is involved in. He mentions multiple times in the book that the parish life in India is much more vibrant than in Western and many countries abroad. So, does not that mean that we continue to witness to the Lord? We can start by reading this book of inspiring homilies; grab your copy of ‘The Speaking Word’ today!

Review by Fiza Pathan