Father Stefan reflects on Pope Francis ‘Joy of the Gospel’ The Homily

Pope Francis writes, “Let us renew our confidence in preaching, based on the conviction that it is God who seeks to reach out to others through the preacher, and that he displays his power through human words. St Paul speaks forcefully about the need to preach, since the Lord desires to reach other people by means of our word. (Rom 10:14-17) By his words our Lord won over the hearts of the people; they came to hear him from all part. (Mat 1:45) They were amazed at his teaching. (Mk 6:2) They sensed that he spoke to them as one with authority. (Mk 1:27) By their words the apostles, whom Christ established ‘to be with him and to be sent out to preach’ (Mk 3:14) brought all nations to the bosom of the Church.”

The best book on preaching that I have read is by Father Peter Cameron O.P. the editor of ‘Magnificat.’ One of the surprising things that he said in his book, ‘Why Preach’ was that, he felt it was a more effective way to preach if the priest left the pulpit. He wrote not only does the Church allow the priest to preach away from the pulpit. He encouraged priests to preach this way. I remember when I was at St Patrick and someone challenged me to preach away from the pulpit. It was an act of faith. But every 5 pm on Sunday I did just that. Now 7 years later, at every Sunday mass I preach this way. Jesus did not preach from notes. We ought not to preach from notes. If the word lives in our heart than out the the abundance of the heart  we will be given the words to speak. This is not an excuse not to prepare. We ought to prepare, but after we have prepared trust in the Holy Spirit. Jesus says, “Do not worry about what you will say or how you will say it, you will be given what you need to say and how to say it. The Spirit of the Father will be speaking through you.”(Mk 13: 11) 

We read in Dei Verbum, “God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the spouse of his beloved Son. And the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church- and through her in the world-leads believers to the full truth, and to make the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness.” (DV 8)

One last quote from Pope Benedict’s ‘The Word of the Lord’, “The word of God is thus expressed in human words thanks to the working of the Holy Spirit. The mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit are inseparable and constitute a single economy of salvation.The same Spirit who acts in the incarnation of the Word in the womb of the Virgin Mary is the Spirit who guides Jesus throughout his mission and is promised to the disciples. The same Spirit who spoke through the prophets sustains and inspires the Church in her task of proclaiming the word of God and in the preaching of the Apostles; finally, it in this Spirit who inspires the authors of Sacred Scripture.”

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