AskDefine | Define homily

Dictionary Definition

homily n : a sermon on a moral or religious topic [syn: preachment]

User Contributed Dictionary



ipacregion Canada


  1. A sermon, especially concerning a practical matter
  2. A moralizing lecture
  3. A platitude

Extensive Definition

A homily is a commentary that follows a reading of scripture. In the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, and in the Eastern Orthodox Church, a homily is usually given during Mass (or Divine Liturgy for Orthodox) at the end of the Liturgy of the Word.

Roman Catholic Mass homily

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) states:
29. When the Sacred Scriptures are read in the Church, God himself speaks to his people, and Christ, present in his own word, proclaims the Gospel. Therefore, all must listen with reverence to the readings from God’s word, for they make up an element of greatest importance in the Liturgy. Although in the readings from Sacred Scripture God’s word is addressed to all people of every era and is understandable to them, nevertheless, a fuller understanding and a greater effectiveness of the word is fostered by a living commentary on the word, that is, the Homily, as part of the liturgical action.
65. The Homily is part of the Liturgy and is strongly recommended, for it is necessary for the nurturing of the Christian life. It should be an exposition of some aspect of the readings from Sacred Scripture or of another text from the Ordinary or from the Proper of the Mass of the day and should take into account both the mystery being celebrated and the particular needs of the listeners.
66. The Homily should ordinarily be given by the priest celebrant himself. He may entrust it to a concelebrating priest or occasionally, according to circumstances, to the deacon, but never to a lay person. In particular cases and for a just cause, the Homily may even be given by a Bishop or a priest who is present at the celebration but cannot concelebrate. There is to be a Homily on Sundays and holy days of obligation at all Masses that are celebrated with the participation of a congregation; it may not be omitted without a serious reason. It is recommended on other days, especially on the weekdays of Advent, Lent and the Easter Season, as well as on other festive days and occasions when the people come to church in greater numbers. After the Homily a brief period of silence is appropriately observed.

Other senses of homily

Contemporary clergy often use the term 'homily' to describe a short sermon, such as one created for a wedding or funeral.
In colloquial usage, homily often means a sermon concerning a practical matter, a moralizing lecture or admonition, or an inspirational saying or platitude.
homily in Spanish: Homilía
homily in French: Homélie
homily in Indonesian: Homili
homily in Polish: Homilia
homily in Portuguese: Homilia

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

article, assignment, causerie, chalk talk, descant, discourse, discussion, disquisition, dissertation, essay, etude, examination, excursus, exercise, exposition, feature, first approach, harangue, homework, instruction, introductory study, lecture, lecture-demonstration, lesson, lucubration, memoir, monograph, moral, moral lesson, morality, moralization, morceau, note, object lesson, outline, pandect, paper, paragraph, piece, preachification, preaching, preachment, prelection, preliminary study, prolegomenon, recital, recitation, religious discourse, research paper, screed, sermon, sermonette, set task, sketch, skull session, special article, study, survey, talk, task, teaching, term paper, theme, thesis, tract, tractate, travelogue, treatise, treatment
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1