The New Testament contains cautions for those who presume to guide others, but who have not themselves allowed the Word to guide them. Today’s post in Evangelii Gaudium:
150. Jesus was angered by those supposed teachers who demanded much of others, teaching God’s word but without being enlightened by it: “They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves will not lift a finger to move them” (Mt 23:4). The apostle James exhorted: “Not many of you should become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness” (Jas 3:1). Whoever wants to preach must be the first to let the word of God move (them) deeply and become incarnate in (their) daily life. In this way preaching will consist in that activity, so intense and fruitful, which is “communicating to others what one has contemplated”.[SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS, S. Th. II-II, q. 188, a. 6] For all these reasons, before preparing what we will actually say when preaching, we need to let ourselves be penetrated by that word which will also penetrate others, for it is a living and active word, like a sword “which pierces to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerns the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12). This has great pastoral importance. Today too, people prefer to listen to witnesses: they “thirst for authenticity” and “call for evangelizers to speak of a God whom they themselves know and are familiar with, as if they were seeing him”.[Evangelii Nuntiandi 76]
So a thought not only for homilists, but catechists, parents, and pastoral ministers: are we authentic?