During his daily morning Mass, Pope Francis talked about preaching the Gospel. He explained that preaching it is not about “speaking well,” but rather, about staying close to the people.
“The scribes, the Pharisees… Distant from the people, with their words. They spoke well. They taught the law, well. But they were distant. The people did not feel this as a grace, because it wasn’t close, it lacked compassion”.
The Pope went on to explain that some preachers can’t give hope, because they only pay attention to their own vanity. He called on Christians to be a living witness of God’s closeness.
SUMMARY OF THE POPE’S HOMILY
(Source: Vatican Radio)
“He was close to the people. A close God who is able to understand the hearts of the people, the heart of His people. Then he sees that procession, and the Lord drew near. God visits His people in the midst of his people, and draws near to them. Proximity. This is how God works. Then there is an expression that is often repeated in the Bible: ‘The Lord was moved with great compassion’. The same compassion which, the Gospel says, that moved Him when he saw so many people like sheep without a shepherd. When God visits His people, He is close to them, He draws near to them and is moved by compassion: He is filled with compassion”.
“Closeness and compassion: this is how the Lord visits His people. And when we want to proclaim the Gospel, to bring forth the word of Jesus, this is the path. The other path is that of the teachers, the preachers of the time: the doctors of the law, the scribes, the Pharisees … who distanced themselves from the people, with their words … well: they spoke well. They taught the law, well. But they were distant. And this was not a visit of the Lord: It was something else. The people did not feel this to be a grace, because it lacked that closeness, it lacked compassion, it lacked that essence of suffering with the people”.
“When God visits His people he restores hope to them. Always. You can preach the Word of God brilliantly: there have been many excellent preachers throughout history. But if these preachers have failed to sow hope, that sermon is useless. It is mere vanity”.