Five reasons to embrace mystagogical preaching

Five reasons to embrace mystagogical preaching

Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday)

In Easter, the newly baptized begin to experience the world and their faith through the lens of the sacraments they have celebrated. They hone this new perception in the Sunday Masses of the Easter season. Through mystagogical preaching, homilists help these neophytes and all the faithful grasp the meaning of the sacraments and live that meaning in their lives.

By engaging our imaginations and training our gaze to see the mystery of Christ, mystagogical preaching helps us to celebrate, understand, and live our faith. Click To Tweet

In Preaching the Rites of Christian Initiation (Liturgy Training Publications, 1994), Rev. Jan Michael Joncas outlines five approaches used by the early church to preach mystagogically.

  • First, they looked to the cosmos and nature to find correlations with the ritual symbols.
  • Second, they observed human practices, social structures, and secular activities.
  • Third, they alluded to various scriptural passages that evoked the same symbols, whether or not the context of the passage related to the context of the rite.
  • Fourth, they critiqued beliefs and behaviors that went against the Christian life.
  • Finally, they helped the assembly recognize in the experience of the ritual a foretaste of God’s reign happening now.

By engaging our imaginations and training our gaze to see the mystery of Christ, mystagogical preaching helps us to celebrate, understand, and live our faith. What would happen in your community if you heard preaching like this every Sunday of Easter?

 
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”

Image credit: Marcos Luiz Photograph, Unsplash, CC0.

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