While preaching on today’s reading from the Gospel of Luke, Pope Francis lamented that in our times “the Great Accuser” is “attacking bishops” by uncovering their sins “in order to scandalize the people.”
According to a summary of the Holy Father’s homily published by Vatican News, Pope Francis called upon bishops to be humble men of prayer and not to “remain distant from the people.”
Vatican News quotes the Holy Father:
The bishop cannot remain distant from the people; he cannot have attitudes that take him away from them… He doesn’t try to find refuge with the powerful or elite. No. The “elites” criticize bishops, while the people has an attitude of love towards the bishop. This is almost a special unction that confirms the bishop in his vocation.
Prayer and humility are attributes necessary for bishops as they face “the Great Accuser,” the Pope said:
In these times, it seems like the “Great Accuser” has been unchained and is attacking bishops. True, we are all sinners, we bishops. He tries to uncover the sins, so they are visible in order to scandalize the people. The “Great Accuser,” as he himself says to God in the first chapter of the Book of Job, “roams the earth looking for someone to accuse.” A bishop’s strength against the “Great Accuser” is prayer, that of Jesus and his own, and the humility of being chosen and remaining close to the people of God, without seeking an aristocratic life that removes this unction. Let us pray, today, for our bishops: for me, for those who are here, and for all the bishops throughout the world.
Pope Francis was preaching on today’s Gospel reading, Luke 6:12-19, which recounts the calling of the Twelve Disciples, whom Francis called “the first bishops.”