Don’t make your congregation end up like Mr. Bean (the inimitable Rowan Atkinson, in the classic clip above).
During today’s General Audience, Pope Francis had these words of wisdom for anyone who dares climb into the pulpit:
One who gives the homily must fulfill well his ministry – he who preaches, the priest, or the deacon or the Bishop –, offers a real service to all those taking part in the Mass, but those who hear him must also do their part. First of all, by paying due attention, namely, by assuming the right interior dispositions, without subjective demands, knowing that every preacher has merits and limitations. If sometimes there is reason to be bored by a long, or unfocused, or incomprehensible homily, at others times, in stead, it’s prejudice that is the obstacle. And one who gives a homily must be conscious that he’s not doing something of his own; he is preaching, giving voice to Jesus, he is preaching the Word of Jesus. And the homily must be well prepared; it must be brief, brief! A priest said to me that once he went to another city where his parents lived and his father said to him: “You know, I’m happy, because along with my friends we found a church where there is Mass without a homily!” And how often we see that during the homily some fall asleep, others chat or go outside to smoke a cigarette . . . Therefore, please, make the homily brief, but it must be well prepared. And how is a homily prepared, dear priests, deacons and Bishops? How is it prepared? With prayer, with the study of the Word of God and by doing a clear and brief synthesis; it must not go beyond ten minutes, please.
There you go.