Personalizing the Word

Gerald O?Collins, SJ

In response to Pope Francis? call for better preaching, we continue a series taking examples from all four gospels. Gerald O?Collins SJ is adjunct professor of Australian Catholic University.

In ?The Joy of the Gospel? Pope Francis encouraged preachers to ?personalize the word.? Let me tackle that task by reflecting on some further passages from Matthew?s Gospel.

The homeless Jesus
?The foxes have their holes and the birds of the air their nests. But the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head? (Matthew 8.20). These are painful words, the words with which Jesus the Son of Man draws a contrast between himself and the foxes and birds. The foxes are safe, when hidden away in their holes deep down in the earth. The birds of the air can be relatively safe also ? high up in the air and perching in their nests.

But Jesus has no fixed home, no safe home of his own. At times he sleeps rough.

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