When I walked into Church this past Sunday, my pastor signaled me from across the Narthex. He gave me a piece of paper and a pen and asked me to provide feedback on the deacon’s homily. “Of course!” I said gleefully, imagining all of the astoundingly profound things I might offer. As I read the questions, I began to think it might be harder than I thought. “Did the homily sufficiently incorporate the readings? What did you take away from the homily that could help you in the Christian life?” I quickly tried skimming the readings before Mass began to make sure I wasn’t hearing them for the first time. As the deacon preached, I listened intently for my call to action to make sure I had something to jot down for that second question. Thankfully for me (and him) I did.
The experience of listening with a purpose was way more helpful for me than my comments will be for the deacon. I was mindful of how poorly prepared I was entering into the liturgy. At Catholic Leadership Institute, I am almost obsessed with making sure meeting materials go out days in advance so people prepare. I’m easily frustrated when they don’t make the connections that I think are clear. Am I as active a listener in the pew as I am in the boardroom? Do I not only “silence my heart”, but focus my mind on the voice of God? Perhaps my homily homework should be more than hoping Father does his.