But if there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's to be prepared. On far too many occasions, for one reason or another, I've been called on to preach at the last minute. Normally this isn't a real problem since I've been a deacon long enough that I can usually put together a reasonably good homily after a brief review of the readings and a few minutes of thought. But I really dislike having to "wing it" and would rather deliver a well-constructed, well-prepared homily. Since I have always written my homilies using the computer, they are all stored on my trusty hard drive, almost 20 years of homilies. If I'm actually scheduled to preach I always write a new homily; however, if I'm not scheduled to preach I look through the stored homilies for the particular Sunday in question, select one, print it, and take it with me. It's rare when I have to use it but it has happened.
Indeed, it happened yesterday evening at the 6 pm Vigil Mass. Shortly before Mass, Fr. Peter, my pastor, asked if I were preaching more than once during August. I replied, "No, just once a few weeks from now," and then half-jokingly I added, "but I'm always prepared, even today if necessary." With that he said, "Wonderful, because I have four Masses this weekend and could use a break from preaching. You do it." And so I did.
I preached pretty much the same homily I gave three years ago and later posted on this blog. Any changes were minor and really didn't alter the central theme. It's based largely on the Gospel reading from John 6 and, therefore, focuses on the Eucharistic gift that is Jesus Christ. If you want to read it, here's the link: Homily, 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B