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Posted December 1, 2005

Book: Preaching the Teaching: Hispanics, Homiletics, and Catholic Social Justice Doctrine
Editors: Kenneth G. Davis, O.F.M. Conv. & Leopoldo Perez, O.M.I.
Scranton University Press, Scranton, PA, 2005, pp.228

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Preaching the Teaching represents an important step forward in the field of homiletics because it seeks to educate those who preach to Hispanic congregations. It concentrates on seven key themes with which those preachers can enrich their pastoral message and in the spirit of Catholic social justice tradition help their communities deal with specific issues; domestic violence, capital punishment, racism, immigration, the economy, the social mission of the parish, and the Gospel of Life.

Volume editors, Davis and Perez have structured each chapter with four common sections: a theme-pecific document from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; an essay by a leading Hispanic thelogian, illuminating why it is important for Hispanic Catholics, both clergy and laity, to take the lead in addressing these issues in their community; a helpful guide to appropriate scripture readings from the Catholic Lectionary; and a brief discussion of how the theme relates to liturgical feasts or civil holidays important to the Latino community. The concluding chapter by Kenneth Davis is a powerful essay entitled “Preacher Exegete Thyself”. Finally the editors have included a helpful Bibliography for those who wish to further explore the book’s themes.

An Excerpt from the Book:

First Reflection: Competition

Competition is one of the basic principles of American society. The business community is based on this principle. Through competition companies rise and fall. Competition is fostered as a principle of life through schools, associations, and societies. Competing and becoming number one, almost at any cost, measures success. Tinkering with the life of the unborn, incapacitated, and terminally ill because they are not “useful” turns them into obstacles to “success.” If we can manipulate life to fit our goals, then we can succeed over others. Competition puts us at odds with one another.

Those who have no voice become the American anawim — the biblical “poor ones” — of today. We remember that God not only hears the cry of the poor but also chooses the poor as prophets to announce God’s Word of Life and denounce the injustice being perpetrated. In terms of this document, the poor are the ones who announce a culture of life while denouncing the culture of death.

Many Hispanics suffer needlessly because of competition that relegates them to being victims of unfair labor practices and inadequate medical attention, and limits their rights to due process of law. They fear that if they speak out, rocking the boat of their business’ labor practices, they will be marked as troublemakers. In standing up for their rights, they fear they will jeopardize their legal status. They often stay in the shadows where they are unjustly treated. They are the anawim who cry out to the church and society to choose life and believe in the gospel \. The bishops emphatically state, “We live the Gospel of life when we live in solidarity with the poor of the world, standing up for their lives and dignity.” While competition often separates people from one another, the Gospel of Life builds bridges for all people to see one another as brothers and sisters on the same journey. We become family to one another by bearing the burdens of our neighbor.

Table of Contents:

1. Capital Punishment
2. For the Love of One Another
3. Communities of Salt and Light
4. Economic Justice for All
5. Living the Gospel of Life
6. Call for Help: Domestic Violence
7. Welcoming the Stranger Among Us