Something for my priest buddies to discuss, mayhaps?
Despite its complexity, Father Viganò pointed out two important aspects to ensure that a homily achieves its communicative objective: the consistency of the preacher's life and the brevity and concreteness of the message.
Quoting a phrase of St. Bernardine of Siena, patron of advertisers, the priest emphasized that the key lies in the clarity of the homily. "The preacher must speak very, very clearly, so that the listener will leave satisfied and illumined, and not dazzled."
In regard to consistency, the author recalled a phrase from philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, who said that "the difference between a pastor and an actor is precisely the existential moment: The pastor must be poor when he preaches about poverty; he must be slandered when he exhorts to endurance in slander. While the actor has the task of deceiving by eliminating the existential moment, the preacher in fact has the duty, in the most profound sense, to preach with his own life."
In regard to brevity, the priest explained that it is a question of avoiding both "non-existent homilies" as well as "endless homilies."
"St. Francis," Father Viganò recalled "exhorted his friars to use pondered and chaste words in their preaching, for the usefulness and edification of the people, proclaiming to the faithful the vices and virtues, the punishment and glory, with a brief speech, because on earth the Lord spoke brief words."
Tip to Joe Waters at Intentional Disciples