Friday, December 13, 2013
ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS AMEN AND PREACH IT HOLY FATHER!
Pope laments 'sad' Christians who always criticize preaching (and so do I!)
In a homily at Mass on December 13, Pope Francis said that Christians who always criticize preachers are “sad Christians,” who are “trapped” in their own conceptions of the faith.
Commenting on the Jews who rejected the message of St. John the Baptist, and then rejected the message of Jesus, the Pope remarked:
The people of that time preferred to take refuge in a more elaborate religion: in the moral precepts, such as the group of Pharisees; in political compromise, as the Sadducees; in social revolution, as the zealots; in gnostic spirituality, such as Essenes.
The same tendencies are visible today, the Pope continued, among Christians who invariably find fault with the message presented to them by their priests. They are caught up in their own ideologies, he said, and unable to hear the Gospel message. This is a great loss, the Pope said, because effective preaching should sometimes be upsetting. The Church, he said, “admonishes you, teaches you—SLAPS YOU, as well—but it is the very freedom that makes the Church grow.”
This problem, the Pope went on, illustrates what St. Paul said about the scandal of preaching: “That God should speak to us through men with limits—sinful men—scandalizes.” Some people focus on the weaknesses of the preachers rather than the content of their message.
“These sad Christians do not believe in the Holy Spirit,” the Pope concluded, urging his congregation to pray that they might be open to hearing the Gospel message.