TUESDAY HOMILY: Coherence in Preaching and Living God's Word
pro-choice, as long as you wouldn't have an abortion yourself.
Such preaching malpractice and theological abuse may be the worst and most harmful damage a spiritual father or mother, a teacher or guide can commit. Jesus talked about such scandalizers when he said that those who fail to keep his commandments and teach others not to keep them would be the least in his kingdom, emphasizing that it would be better for them to have had a millstone tied around their neck and tossed into the depth of the Galilean sea than to have led any of his little ones astray.
The Lord, rather, wants us to have integrity, to preach His words - all of them, including the more challenging messages - and to practice what he wants us to preach. I've always been moved by the instruction given to those who have just been ordained deacons, words that should apply to each of us. The bishop places the Book of the Gospel in his hands and says, "Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach." Each of us is called to become one with the word, to believe it, teach it and put it into practice.
The greatest way we preach that Gospel, moreover, is by putting it into practice. Our example is worth a thousand homilies, books, catechetical fervorinos, or treatises. According to tradition, St. Francis of Assisi, before sending his friars out to preach, would instruct them: "Preach always, and if you must, use words."
We give thanks that Pope Benedict, who sat on the cathedra of Peter - which really is the vicarious teaching chair of Christ - was one who really sought to conform all of his words and body language to Christ's words and self-giving. He was a spiritual father who reminded us of the paternity of God the Father; a teacher who helped us to grasp far better the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth; a guide who strove to help us live by the Holy Spirit.
We pray that the Lord reward him in this life and in the next.
And we pray, as the chair of Peter is about to vacant, that the Lord will help the Cardinals choose another who will be as coherent to the Word and faithful to the task.
Father Roger Landry is pastor of St. Bernadette Parish in Fall River, MA and national chaplain of Catholic Voices USA. His homilies and articles are found on catholicpreaching.com.
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