William J Bausch- From No to Yes, Homilies for Preachers, Reflections for Pilgrims
The title to this book of homilies, “No to Yes” reflects the age-old beckoning to conversion. These 72 new homilies are drawn from everyday headlines and voices that range from the inspirational to the challenging, with a distinct thematic bias towards the conflict of culture and faith. The homilies are filled with Fr. Bausch’s hallmark story telling; the more I preach the more I am convinced of their importance. Research has shown that stories form our lives for better or worse. Those stories that grapple with the deep questions – God, suffering, loneliness, and death – produce the myths we live by, myths that give us humans living on a decaying star some sense of identity, community, meaning and purpose. That is why we are a storytelling people and stories, unlike the “facts-only” one-dimensional statements our age favors. Stories have their own flexible, shape-shifting meanings that challenge, and often upend each era. A recent study of former Catholics has identified poor preaching as the second single most common complaint for why they stopped attending church. Clearly people want words that reflect where they are, that deal with matters they must face every day, and words that help them name their spiritual longings. As Christianity declines, at least here in the West with the Catholic Church hemorrhaging most severely of all, there is a need for reaching out to those who have left organized religion but who have not necessarily abandoned the quest for spirituality. Part of that outreach must begin with preaching the word of God whose aim, in the words of a Pope Francis’ book title, makes “Walking with Jesus” more inviting, more approachable. Hopefully this volume of new homilies may help.