Though daily Mass is held most frequently, resources for daily homilies can be in short supply. In this book, Bishop Sklba offers a rich collection of ideas — fire starters — for preparing brief, spiritually nourishing homilies for daily Eucharist. Like building a campfire, where one ignites the logs with more easily flammable paper, these "fire starters" are intended to provide the spark for weekday homilies. God's Spirit provides the flame.
Each day, the biblical citations and summary phrases for the reading and the gospel plus the refrain from the psalm are provided. After each citation, Bishop Sklba offers a series of meaningful insights from his expertise as a Scripture scholar, prayerful study of Scripture, and many years of preaching and pastoral experience. These brief entries provide knowledge and inspiration that will stimulate personal prayer and spark homily possibilities for the preacher every day.
Fire Starters will support anyone privileged to be called to leadership at weekday celebrations of the Eucharist to prepare for the important ministry of preaching.
Bishop Richard J. Sklba served as auxiliary bishop of Milwaukee for over thirty years. He is a well-known biblical scholar, completing the licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. He is a member and former president of the Catholic Biblical Association of America. He has served on many committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, chairing its subcommittee on the Review of Scripture Translations from 1991 to 2001. In 1988, he received the Catholic Theological Society of America's John Courtney Murray Award for achievement in theology.
All who are familiar with the somewhat daunting task of preparing meaningful homilies for the weekdays of Ordinary Time will discover in this book a helpful companion, one designed to ignite "sparks" that can be enflamed by God's Spirit.
In his love and passion for the Scriptures, Bishop Sklba offers many insights into the weekday readings of the Liturgy to preachers and anyone interested in understanding the Bible more deeply. His fluid style and graced succinctness provides us with a greater appreciation of the context and meaning of God's Word.
Most Reverend Robert Morneau, Deacon Digest
Bishop Richard Sklba's Fire Starters reveals not only his gifts as a preacher and a pastor, but also his conviction as a biblical scholar that the historical-critical method can foster preaching that touches mind and heart. Intended for bishops, priests, deacons, and also for lay preachers, these reflections have the power to spark a renewal of preaching and a deeper love of the Word of God not only in liturgical celebrations, but wherever two or three gather to pray.
Mary Catherine Hilkert, OP, Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame
This practical aid for preachers radiates with exegesis and spirituality, world literature and comparative religions. Preachers need not purchase many commentaries and look up passages. It's all here, day by day.
Paul Turner, Worship
Several diverse kinds of commentary on the lectionary readings for Sundays and major feast days of the year are readily accessible today. However, only a few comparable reflections on the weekday readings are available. Into this lacuna steps Richard Sklba. This retired bishop here takes up again the mantle that he had donned before he was called to the ecclesiastical magisterium, the mantle of biblical teacher. These reflections, which provide both biblical information and spiritual nourishment, demonstrate that the mantle remains a perfect fit.
Dianne Bergant, CSA, Professor of Old Testament studies, Catholic Theological Union in Chicago
Here is an excellent and practical homily guide that will be welcomed by Catholic preachers, especially those called upon to preach the daily homily.
The Bible Today
To have someone open the Scriptures for us is a tremendous grace. Bishop Richard Sklba does precisely that: he opens up God's Word by providing `fire starters' that help us to experience scriptural revelation. And the fire offered is ablaze, giving much light and warmth to enrich our spiritual journey.
Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop of Green Bay, Wisconsin
In Fire Starters, Bishop Sklba has given us a wealth of information complemented by thought-provoking questions to expand our understanding of the biblical text and to lead us to reflect upon how these texts impact our lives in our messy, nitty-gritty world. Drawing on the best of contemporary biblical scholarship Bishop Sklba brings us into the biblical world and the nuances of its language to better understand the message of presenting a spirituality that is both biblically based, and at the same time, contemporary. Though intended to assist preachers in their preparation of homilies, Fire Starters could easily become a source of prayerful reflection on the biblical readings of the day for all who want to immerse themselves in Scripture by daily meditation on the biblical text.
Pauline Viviano, Associate Professor of Theology, Loyola University, Chicago