A Church that lacks prophecy leaves a void that is filled by clericalism and legalism.

This was the heart of the Holy Father’s homily today at Casa Santa Marta.

Describing the role of the prophet, Pope Francis told the faithful present that the prophet is one who carries within himself three moments: the promise of the past, contemplation of the present and courage to show the path towards the future.

“The Lord has always taken care of His people with the prophets, in difficult moments, in the moments in which the People were discouraged or destroyed, when there was no Temple, when Jerusalem was under the power of enemies, when the people asked within themselves: ‘But Lord you promised this! And what is going on now?’” the Pope said.

It is in these moments of difficulty, the Pope stressed, that the words of the prophets are necessary, although many times they are rejected. Even Jesus recognized this when reminding the Pharisees that their ancestors killed the prophets for speaking the truth. When the people of God lack the life of the Lord.

Reflecting on the Gospel, where the Pharisees question Christ’s authority in teaching, the Holy Father said that in doing so, they forgot the promises made by God in the past. Their hearts were fixed on legalism and authority.

“When there is no prophecy in the people of God, the void it leaves becomes occupied by clericalism. And it is this clericalism that  Jesus asks: ‘With what authority do you do this? With what authority?’ And the memory of the promise and the hope of going forward becomes reduced to only the present: neither the past, nor a hopeful future. The present is legal. If it is legal it goes forward,” the Pope said.

Concluding his homily, Pope Francis prayed that in these days leading to Christmas, that there may not be a lack of prophets.

“Let us not tire of moving forward! Let us not be closed in the legality that closes the doors! Lord, free your people from the spirit of clericalism and help them with the spirit of prophecy,” he said. (J.A.E.)