“To do, to listen and to speak: these are the three signs of a true prophet.”
This was the main theme of Pope Francis’ homily today at Casa Santa Marta. According to Vatican Radio, the Holy Father reflected on the Gospel of St. Matthew, in which Jesus warns of “pseudo-prophets.”
“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers’”, Jesus says.
The Pope said that there are three main criteria to distinguish true prophets from ‘pseudo-prophets’; from true preachers of the Gospel and from “those who preach a Gospel that is not a Gospel.”
The three criteria, he said, were speaking, doing and listening. Referring to Jesus’ words that “not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven”, the Pope said that despite their ability to speak, they lack the ability to practice what they preach and to listen.
“When Jesus warns the people to watch out for the ‘pseudo-prophets’, he says: ‘By their fruits, you will know them’”, the Pope said. “And here, from their behavior: so many words, they speak, they do wonders, they do great things but do not have their hearts open to listen to the Word of God, they fear the silence of the World of God and these are the ‘pseudo-Christians’, the ‘pseudo-pastors’. It is true, they do good things, it’s true, but they lack the rock.”
This rock, he explained, is “the rock of the love of God, the rock of the Word of God. Without it, they cannot prophecy or build on solid foundation based on God: only on themselves.”
The 78 year old Pontiff invited the faithful to remember the three criteria as a way of discerning between a true and a false prophet.
“One that knows how to listen and from listening, with the strength of word of another and not from their own, can remain balanced. Though they may be a humble person, that does not seem important, but how many of these great ones there are in the Church! How many great bishops, how many great priests, how many great faithful who know how to listening and from listening, they act.”
The Pope noted the example of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta who knew how to listen in the midst of silence.”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis called on the faithful to follow the examples of these “great ones” who remained firm in the love of Christ.
“May the weakness of Jesus, who though strong made himself weak to make us strong, accompany us in this celebration and teach us to listen and to act from listening, not from our words,” he said.