words become more important than the celebra-
tion of faith. If the homily goes on too long,
it will affect two characteristic elements of the
liturgical celebration: its balance and its rhythm.
When preaching takes place within the context
of the liturgy, it is part of the offering made to
the Father and a mediation of the grace which
Christ pours out during the celebration. This
context demands that preaching should guide
the assembly, and the preacher, to a life-changing
communion with Christ in the Eucharist. This
means that the words of the preacher must be
measured, so that the Lord, more than his minis-
ter, will be the centre of attention.
A mother’s conversation
139. We said that the people of God, by the
constant inner working of the Holy Spirit, is con-
stantly evangelizing itself. What are the implica-
tions of this principle for preachers? It reminds
us that the Church is a mother, and that she
preaches in the same way that a mother speaks to
her child, knowing that the child trusts that what
she is teaching is for his or her benefit, for chil-
dren know that they are loved. Moreover, a good
mother can recognize everything that God is
bringing about in her children, she listens to their
concerns and learns from them. The spirit of
love which reigns in a family guides both moth-
er and child in their conversations; therein they
teach and learn, experience correction and grow
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