Reclaiming the Gift of Prophetic Preaching

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By Sr. Brenda Walsh, Racine Dominican

The call to reclaim the gift of prophetic preaching reminds us that the effort is intended to challenge the status quo and to nurture peace and justice in the lives of the listeners.

Some pastors and church leaders from various denominations are asking how they can reclaim the gift and offer tools to their members to restore and live prophetic preaching. People hear so much about what is going on in our world and there is very little good news. People on the fringes of life are also calling out for life and survival assistance, and are hoping that congregational leaders and members will speak clearly about the issues and put their words into action.

Prophetic preaching was always a concern of the Dominican Order Dominic, our Founder, left us with a mission of being ambassadors for Christ and to work at implementing God’s plan in our time and place. He reminded us of that when he confronted untruth and challenged it boldly, he did so without counting the cost.

Compassion for the poor of his time was very evident in his life and we are called and challenged to do the same. Reliance on God’s Word and the power of the Spirit guided him in accomplishing the task at hand. He always endeavored to follow the Gospel way of life, sharing God’s mercy with all humankind and especially with those troubled mentally, physically or spiritually. One example was when he found a man about to be taken into slavery, he offered himself in exchange for the man in this situation He was ready to become enslaved for the sake of another, using Jesus as a model of mercy and compassion.

The Gospel requires us to be advocates for people in dire situations and to reject the common myths about people in poverty. It also calls us to look at our own lifestyles and let the pain of others touch us. Then we will be able to hold up and live more clearly God’s plan for all people.


Prophetic Preaching calls us to challenge the status quo, pointing out where things have gone wrong and bringing God’s vision for our world to the fore and pointing out how ordinary people of all ages and conditions can become involved and be part of the solution. Pulpit preaching must be based on God’s Word and God’s vision for our world and promote a just and peaceful society. We need to let the suffering of people get inside of us and stand in solidarity with the poor. Then we can call people to action. This will include concern for the many injustices of our day, such as human trafficking, AIDS, on- going wars, corporate corruption, the need for immigration reform and many more. We also need to speak clearly and convincingly about the wrongs involved and then move to action. All can be included in the prayers of the congregation.

These responses may frequently bring us into conflict with society but we cannot let that deter us from accomplishing our mission. This is often an issue with pastors who may fear losing their income and their membership and even their pastoral position. The Word of God will sustain us through the struggles and with the power of God "we will be able to do infinitely more than we dare ask or imagine."


There are times when the preacher needs to be pastoral, listening to the pain and stresses of the congregational members and bringing them comfort and hope and guiding them gently into God’s comforting care. There are also many occasions when prophetic preaching can be done and with good results. We need a renewed interest in prophetic preaching today in order to address the injustices all around us and to challenge the status quo.

All members of the congregations and organizations can include in their prayers and responses, the many needs of individuals and of our society. If we don’t feel ready for the awesome task, we can count on God’s Word to empower us and sustain us every step of the way.

Our life itself will be a preaching and not just the words we speak. This approach will keep us hopeful and sustain our efforts to keep God’s wonderful plan for all people before our eyes Then there will be no strangers in our midst, only friends we have not yet met. Let us begin today with courage, conviction and hope.


Dominican Preaching Archive

Preaching is at the heart of the Dominican vocation. The Dominican Leadership Conference claims for all members of the Dominican Family the right to preach, and commits itself to the struggle this claim entails. The injustices of our day compel us to place the charism of preaching at the service of the poor and powerless. The Dominican prophetic message, rooted in experience, study and prayer, will move both preachers and hearers of the word to act for the transformation of oppressive structures. The Conference on its part will act corporately, confronting evil with the Gospel and working for the construction of a just world order.

We embrace the mission of preaching for justice with a commitment to act in collaboration with one another and all those with and among whom we minister

------Dominican Leadership Conference

(The latest additions are shown first.  Click on an article title below to view it.)

• A Call to Light the World With Truth •
• A Harvest of Thanksgiving •
• Blessed Are the Peacemakers •
• Dominic's Daring Dream •
• Dominic, Preacher of Grace •
• Inside Darkness - The Film •
• Acquiring Legal Status Under Fedral Immigration Law •
• Living With Integrity •
• Preaching Participation •
• Reclaiming the Gift of Prophetic Preaching •
• The Call And the Challenge To Address Racism •
• United Nations •

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