“The people of God have a certain allergy to the preachers of the Word: they persecuted the prophets, (even) killed them."
In his daily Mass, Pope Francis cautioned Christians not to be overly-critical of those who preach the Gospel, emphasizing that focusing too much on personal precepts keeps us from being happy.
Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading in which Jesus compares the generation to children who are always unhappy or dissatisfied, the Pope stated that “The people of God have a certain allergy to the preachers of the Word: they persecuted the prophets, (even) killed them.”
The pontiff’s Dec. 13 homily was directed at those who were present for his morning Mass in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse.
Following the day’s readings, Pope Francis explored the meaning of the Gospel passage, taken from Matthew, explaining that the unhappiness of the people in that generation was because they were “not open to the Word of God.”
Their refusal to listen, he noted, had nothing to do with the message, but the messenger, adding that “They reject John the Baptist,” who came “neither eating nor drinking,” saying that he was “a man possessed.”
They rejected Jesus, the Pope observed, referring to him as “a glutton, a drunkard, a friend of publicans and sinners,” going on to say that the people always had a reason to criticize the preacher.
“The people of that time preferred to take refuge in a more elaborate religion,” the Pope emphasized, “in the moral precepts, such as the group of Pharisees; in political compromise, as the Sadducees; in social revolution, as the zealots; in gnostic spirituality, such as Essenes.”
“They were (happy) with their clean, well-polished system. The preacher, however, was not (so pleased),” the pontiff explained, recalling that Jesus reminded them of how their ancestors had treated the prophets in the same way.
These people, noted the Pope, claim to accept the truth, “but the preacher, preaching, no.”
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