Pope Francis rather destroys the narcissistic notion that all a preacher needs is to be right. In discussing “Homiletic resources,” we are presented with the principle of being able to communicate effectively. If the people do not hear, then the message is cycled from the preacher’s brain to tongue to his or her own ears. Useless.
156. Some people think they can be good preachers because they know what ought to be said, but they pay no attention to how it should be said, that is, the concrete way of constructing a sermon. They complain when people do not listen to or appreciate them, but perhaps they have never taken the trouble to find the proper way of presenting their message. Let us remember that “the obvious importance of the content of evangelization must not overshadow the importance of its ways and means”.[Evangelii Nuntiandi 31]
It’s not an original concept to Pope Francis. Pope Paul said it in the mid-70’s.
Preaching is also an art. As such, it demands talent and creativity, that inconvenient pair that for some Catholics, suggests wild abandon and self-centeredness. Not quite.
Concern for the way we preach is likewise a profoundly spiritual concern. It entails responding to the love of God by putting all our talents and creativity at the service of the mission which he has given us; at the same time, it shows a fine, active love of neighbour by refusing to offer others a product of poor quality. In the Bible, for example, we can find advice on how to prepare a homily so as to best to reach people: “Speak concisely, say much in few words” (Sir 32:8).
Huh. Jesus ben Sira. And all this time we thought it was Saint Francis.