As this is Word of God Sunday, it may be best to take a homiletic approach and allow your homily to arise from reflection upon the readings of the day. The readings of this Sunday are rich with imagery and truth. You will find general comments here. With that commentary in mind, there are possible approaches to link the readings with the observation of Word of God Sunday. Here are some examples to help you reflect and pray: The Word of God is a Person The Power of the encounter with Jesus is clear in the dramatic response of the disciples in the passage from the Gospel of Mark. His overwhelming presence rocks their world and changes everything. This is a powerful reminder that the Word of God is first and foremost a person - Jesus Christ. The purpose of engaging the Word is that transforming encounter with Him. The Word of God is living and effective In the passage from Jonah and the passage from Mark, we see the effect of the Word of God. It is not a letter on a page or a relic of a bygone age. It is alive and powerful and demands a response. Whether it be the shocking conversion of the enemy Ninevites or the disciples abandonment of their means of living, we see how the Word pierces the heart. The Word of God is demanding In our culture, confort is a very high value. Too often we prefer to imagine God as a kind of cosmic therapist that consoles and encourages us when we want it. It is less common today for folks to realize that the Word is more a wild eyed John the Baptist calling for repentance. Paul knew that and he reminds the Corinthians of the urgency of the need for their response. He makes it clear that a life of faith touches every aspect of life to its core. It is not comfortable, but it is saving. The Word of God is a gift The Ninevites did not deserve God's Word of mercy. The soon to be Apostles were not the best and brightest in Israel when Jesus called them to His side. St. Paul was far from the ideal Christian when the Lord appeared to him on the road to Damascus. All of these examples point to the truth that God's Word is offered as an unmerited gift. Its stories and poetry are meant to lift us, guide us, and challenge us for the life of grace.
You may prefer to utilize the homily on Word of God Sunday to catechize the people in some aspect of Catholic teaching or worship. Here are some ideas along these lines: The character and role of the lectionary Few Catholics understand why or how we read from a lectionary rather than a Bible in the liturgy. This is an opportunity to help them understand the interplay between Old Testament and gospel passages and the close link between the proclamation of the Word and the liturgy. The Word of God in the life of the Church US culture, heavily influenced by Protestantism, tends to see Bible reading as "personal." Catholics understand the Word of God as at home among the People of God. It is a "book of the Church" and its spirit inspired reflection upon and interpretation of the Word is essential to the authentic reading of the texts. This same truth may also be contrasted with US secular culture and its rejection of the authority of the Scriptures. How the Church listens to the Word of God This USCCB page offers some ideas worth preaching.
The importance of reading and studying the Word of God It would be useful to utilize the element of response found in the the readings (see commentary) in order to make an appeal for the regular reading of Scripture and outlining ways in which people might deepen their understanding of the Scriptures The special importance of Lectio divina WIth the same aspect as above, you might devote the homily to an explanation of, and exhortation to, the practice of Lectio Divina. See the resource page for help with this approach. Parish plans for intensifying attention to the Word of God Again with the notion of the importance of the Word as an encounter with the Lord in mind, this would be a good time for a parish to announce a plan for parish scripture study or Lectio Divina. The homily might outline that plan and exhort people to take part - something like a Sunday homily intended to draw people to a parish mission during the week.
Preaching themes found in Pope Francis's Apostolic Letter
The Holy Father's Apostolic letter focuses on the importance of the homily in the proclamation of the Word of God. The letter itself utilizes biblical imagery and themes that might serve as useful starting points for the homily on Word of God Sunday. Here are some of those themes and their locations in the letter: The Reading of the Book of Deuteronomy (# 4) Here the Holy Father recalls the dramatic moment when after the return of the people from exile, the Law of the Lord was read out to the people - a reading that brought them together and offered a foundation for their renewed life in the land. The Road to Emmaus (#'s 6 -8) This lengthy and dense passage offers much insight regarding the role of the Word of God in opening our eyes to the presence and action of the Lord in our lives and in our world. It also speaks of the fundamental unity that exists in the liturgy between Word and Sacrament. Salvation and the Word of God (# 9) Relying on Saint Paul and Dei Verbum, the Holy Father reminds us of the saving purpose and power of the Word of God. He also reminds of Dei Verbum's teaching on the inerrancy of Sacred Scripture in those matters necessary for our salvation. In a time when the authority of Sacred Scripture is frequently challenged and even belittled, this teaching is a critical reminder to people of the central place of the Word in the Christian life. The Holy Spirit and the Word of God (#'s 10-12) Related to the above, the Holy Father also delves into the role of the Holy Spirit in the composition of the sacred texts - and the role of that same Spirit in guiding our reading of the the texts. He addresses the "incarnational" nature of Sacred Scripture - written in human tongues and expressing the inner life of the Trinity. This same section of the letter also provides powerful testimony to the role of the Church in the interpretation of God's Word.