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Touchstones for Preaching

Special Touchstones: Funerals

In this presentation on funeral homilies, Fr. Thomas Scirghi, S.J. explores challenges to preaching at a funeral (00:11) and the theology of the funeral rite (48:08). Among the challenges he discusses are the mystery of death (00:14) the experience of humility and powerlessness in the face of death (04:00), that preaching is revelatory (06:44), and the difference between being sacramental or sentimental (13:14). He addresses considerations such as peer pressure (16:43), the relationship between the preacher and the congregation (21:23), trusting the liturgy (37:49), and preaching when the congregation has members with diverse religious backgrounds (41:26). In addressing the theology of the funeral rite, Fr. Scirghi discusses the anthropology of rites of passage (48:25). the connections between baptism and the funeral rite (49:52), and the Paschal mystery (55:55). Throughout he offers sage observations about the process of preparing to preach such as showing compassion and beginning with listening.

Presented May 5, 2009 | References | Transcript

Questions for Reflection

  • What interactions with family and friends can help you plan the homily?
  • What are the two most significant insights you have gained about the challenges of preaching a funeral homily?
  • What theological point about the funeral rite stands out for you?