For weekend Masses, I usually have some notes to guide me. I don't read my homilies word for word (I don't think I could), but I have a guideline of where I want to go with it, and whatever I see along the way that helps me get there, so be it.
But for weekday homilies, I just go at it. By way of preparation, before Mass I check out the readings, read the Barclay Commentary on it, and try to read a bit about the Saint of the day (if there is one). What thread connects them all? Where's my "foot in the door" to get the crowd's attention? What do they need to know about this saint? How do I do it all in under 5 minutes?
This morning I preached about St. Nicholas. I got it all in: his connection to Santa Claus, the stories of his generosity, his theological fortitude in the days of the Arian heresy and the Council of Nicea. If I may say so, I was funny, profound, and left them knowing more about the Saint than they did before the Mass.
Preachers, when we're done, have a moment to ourselves. That little time that it takes to walk from the ambo to the chair is the time when we know in our hearts how we did with our homily. Today, it felt like this:
Though there are also days it feels like this: