The homily, as a liturgical act, is symbolic speaking done in the Christian community. As such it works effectively not at the level of cognition, where information is exchanged and ideas are explored, but at the level of recognition, where the speaking touches us 'to the quick,' revealing us to ourselves. Because we are vulnerable at the quick, symbolic speech has the power to move us. By contrast, speech that is deliberately inauthentic, but also everyday patterns of language, work to mask, protect and manipulate that living core, offering us instead a familiar and orderly world to live in. Even conventionalized uses of once-powerful religious language can deliberately shield us from the presence of the saving mystery. These two -- the public rhetoric of our secular, technological, consumer society and conventionalized God-talk -- both aim to get us to settle for less than fullness of life in Christ Jesus, which is unavoidably paschal, requiring transformation through conversion.
-- Mary Collins, O.S.B