The Pope & the Pastor
11. A renewal of preaching can offer believers, as well as the lukewarm and the non-practicing, new joy in the faith and fruitfulness in the work of evangelization. The heart of its message will always be the same: the God who revealed his immense love in the crucified and risen Christ. God constantly renews his faithful ones, whatever their age: “They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not be faint” (Is 40:31). Christ is the “eternal Gospel” (Rev 14:6); he “is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb 13:8), yet his riches and beauty are inexhaustible. He is forever young and a constant source of newness. The Church never fails to be amazed at “the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God” (Rom 11:33). …Whenever we make the effort to return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up, with different forms of expression, more eloquent signs and words with new meaning for today’s world. Every form of authentic evangelization is always “new.” –Pope Francis, Gaudium Evangelii
St. Paul tells the Romans (10:17) that faith comes by hearing the preaching of Christ. As a priest, I have continued to see this reality at work. I love the Eucharist and am grateful for the sacraments of the Church. I believe in celebrating liturgy well and living our faith in the reality of our every day lives. However, my experience continues to reveal the need to first preach. People’s hearts and minds are opened by the words of Christ just as it was for Zacchaeus and Mary Magdalene. What needs to be preached is the Gospel truth of God’s saving mission in Jesus Christ, who has been sent for sinners. Pretending something isn’t wrong and only talking about God as someone that loves me, isn’t the fullness. Neither is constantly talking about sin and failing to reveal God’s love and mercy. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, is that we are all sinners in need of saving. And this day Salvation has come to our home! I hope that in some round about way, this is the preaching I offer to you and those who are with us each week.
I encourage you all not to merely be receivers of the Word but to take account of the word you receive and put it into practice yourselves. I have a position of authority to preach in the parish, but each of you preach throughout your day. At school, work and at home. Speak of Him and what He has done for you. This is Witness. He will open up new meaning and new depth and new surprises for you and for today’s people whom He desires to save.
“If faith is to be strong and healthy, it must be constantly nourished by the Word of God.”–Pope Francis Tweet, October 21, 2014