158. Paul VI said that “the faithful… expect
much from preaching, and will greatly benefit
from it, provided that it is simple, clear, direct,
Simplicity has to do with the
language we use. It must be one that people un-
derstand, lest we risk speaking to a void. Preach-
ers often use words learned during their studies
and in specialized settings which are not part of
the ordinary language of their hearers. These are
words that are suitable in theology or catechesis,
but whose meaning is incomprehensible to the
majority of Christians. The greatest risk for a
preacher is that he becomes so accustomed to his
own language that he thinks that everyone else
naturally understands and uses it. If we wish
to adapt to people’s language and to reach them
with God’s word, we need to share in their lives
and pay loving attention to them. Simplicity and
clarity are two different things. Our language
may be simple but our preaching not very clear.
It can end up being incomprehensible because it
is disorganized, lacks logical progression or tries
to deal with too many things at one time. We
need to ensure, then, that the homily has the-
matic unity, clear order and correlation between
sentences, so that people can follow the preacher
easily and grasp his line of argument.
159. Another feature of a good homily is that
it is positive. It is not so much concerned with
 Ibid., 43: AAS 68 (1976), 33.
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