Preachers of Grace, Witnesses to the Resurrection


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A presentation on Mary Catherine Hilkert, OP's article
A course requirement on the Spirituality of the Preacher (2nd semester 2012-13)

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Preachers of Grace, Witnesses to the Resurrection

  1. 1. Preachers of Grace, Witnesses to the Resurrection Mary Catherine Hilkert, OP
  2. 2. Sr. Mary Catherine Hilkert, OP • a Dominican theologian internationally renowned for her scholarship and writing on the subject of preaching • Professor of Theology and Director of the Master of Theological Studies program at the University of Notre Dame and one-time faculty member at Aquinas Institute
  3. 3. Gerhard Ebeling “Theology is necessary to make preaching as hard for the preacher as it has to be” - To announce the word in today’s world, preachers need to attend to complex philosophical, psychological and scientific debates in addition to biblical and theological disputes
  4. 4. St. Paul “If Christ is not risen, your faith is in vain.” (1Cor 15:17) “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is void of content and your faith is empty, too” (1Cor 15:17)
  5. 5. Content of All Preaching • Should be the good news of the resurrection • or God’s final word of saving grace • Preacher of the resurrection should proclaim that evil will not have the final word • and that death is not the end
  6. 6. Christian Hope • Born in the life and ministry of Jesus • Called into question by His execution • Sealed in the event we call resurrection
  7. 7. Karl Rahner – “The resurrection is a fundamental continuity with the life and death of Jesus.” Edward Schillebeeckx – “We are saved, inspite of the cross of Jesus, rather than because of it.”
  8. 8. Karl Rahner pictures the Resurrection as... In the interior of the world, God’s fire is already burning, and this will bring everything to blessed ardour in His light.
  9. 9. Christians preach... nor the neither the But the
  10. 10. Naming Grace in the Midst of Suffering The most difficult challenge to any preacher of the good news of God’s abiding presence is all the evidence to the contrary...
  11. 11. “The preacher is sent to the poor not to announce the good news they have not heard, but rather to be among the poor to hear the good news they experience when they listen to the scriptures from the context of their lives and struggles.”
  12. 12. Resurrection of the Body Metaphors It is impossible to explain the mystery of God.
  13. 13. Our Funeral liturgies proclaim, “Life is changed, not ended..” “What is sown a physical body will be raised a spiritual body” (1Cor 1:44)
  14. 14. Rudolf Bultmann – “not probe ‘What happened?’ but should be concerned evoking Paul Tillich – “Many of those who reject the word of God, reject it because the way we say it is utterly meaningless to them.”
  15. 15. Preaching Resurrection in a World of Crucifixion September 11, 2001
  16. 16. When and How is HOPE Born? • We have NO ANSWERS • We cannot explain how or why the power of God breaks through in the most desperate of circumstances – we can only testify to the experience • Resurrection hope is not something we can cause, control, bring about or explain. • Hope begins to stir when we share stories of pain, speak our doubts and disappointments, etc.
  17. 17. The Emmaus Narrative Jesus as the Preacher of Hope We are all born “storytellers”. Mimesis (Aristotle) – artistic or creative representation or imitation of life
  18. 18. The Emmaus Narrative Jesus as the Preacher of Hope Prefiguration (Mimesis 1) – Jesus, the disciples’ hoped for Messiah, was executed. And their hope was destroyed.
  19. 19. The Emmaus Narrative Jesus as the Preacher of Hope New Configuration (Mimesis 2) – The stranger transforms the succession of events into one meaningful whole
  20. 20. The Emmaus Narrative Jesus as the Preacher of Hope Refiguration of the Lives of the Disciples (Mimesis 3) – Jesus was recognized in the breaking of the bread, and the disciples preached the resurrection of Jesus
  21. 21. Hoping Against Hope: Proclaiming the Resurrection All the resurrection experiences testify to hope born amid loss and pain. Hope emerges in the power of God breaking forth in new imaginings and new energy. The lives of those who have gone to death like Jesus, alone and in silence, but nevertheless with radical trust in God’s mercy give the clearest testimony to the possibility of Christian hope.
  22. 22. Hoping Against Hope: Proclaiming the Resurrection Jesus as the Preacher of Hope “You can tell them, if they succeed in killing me, that I pardon them, and I bless those who may carry out the killing. But I wish they could realize that they are wasting their time. A Bishop will die, but the church of God – the people – will never die.”
  23. 23. “Putting oneself at the service of the resurrection means working continually, often against hope, in the service of eschatological ideals: justice, peace, etc.” – Jon Sobrino In the end, the vocation of a preacher is to speak words of grace that help us to see and move us to act. Preaching – the testimony of faith – is necessary if hope is to be possible in a secular and suffering world.
  24. 24. Dominican Preaching Fr. Dominic Izzo, O.P. - Director of the Dominican Foundation and Vicar Provincial for Advancement for the Province of St. Joseph.