Preaching “cannot be lukewarm…preaching is always…a slap,” Pope Francis said at the morning Mass he celebrated on January 26, 2018, in the chapel of Santa Marta House in the Vatican. But this preaching is done first by the testimony, he explained.
The preaching “cannot be lukewarm … The preaching is always – let me say this term – a slap, it’s a slap, a slap that moves you and moves you forward, assured the pope in the homily reported in Italian by Vatican News. And Paul himself cites ‘the folly of preaching’. It’s madness because to say that God became man and was crucified, and then resurrected”.
That message must have sounded like madness to the people of Athens, the Holy Father explained. That can lead to a temptation to be mediocre and lukewarm in the faith.
Faith is transmitted by the testimony, continued Pope Francis: “See how they love each other!” But in some parishes, that isn’t what people hear.
“And how can you transmit faith in the air so vitiated by gossip, slander?” he asked, proposing the need for testimony: “Look, this one never speaks badly of others; that one does works of charity; he visits when someone is sick, why is he doing this? Why does this person live like this? And with the testimony comes the question of why … because he has faith because he follows the footsteps of Jesus.”
“Faith is transmitted in a maternal womb, the bosom of the Church” because “the Church is a mother, the Church is feminine,” the Pope said. And “the maternity of the Church is prolonged in the maternity of the mother, the woman”.