THE Gospel is made for television and Jesus Christ would have been a perfect on-air evangelist, the papal preacher said.
Televised programming required “brevity, concision, applicability to life, and word and images blended together,” preacher of the papal household Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa said. “It is an endeavour one can undertake without betraying the Gospel, quite the contrary, by imitating it.”
Jesus spoke in a very concrete way, using “parables, images, aphorisms and short stories”, he said in an interview published in the late July edition of the Italian Catholic magazine, Credere.
“The Gospel is intrinsically ‘fit for television’,” he said.
If he had been born into the world today, “Jesus would have been the ideal television preacher”, said the priest, who, for 15 years, hosted a weekly Gospel reflection on RAI Uno, a major channel on Italian television.
“There’s a deep affinity between the Gospel message and the medium of television,” he said, because television “helps the message reach people’s hearts”.
“Jesus multiplied bread and fish in order to feed thousands of people,” Fr Cantalamessa said. “Television multiplies the word, and not by one thousand, but by millions.”
The Italian Capuchin priest, who will to turn 80 on July 22, has been papal preacher since 1980 when St John Paul II appointed him; Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis respectively confirmed his position. The papal preacher is tasked with preparing the traditional series of Lenten and Advent reflections each year for the pope and top Vatican officials, and is charged with preaching at the pope’s public celebration of the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday.
Fr Cantalamessa said he figured he had given about 280 meditations in the past 34 years.
With each meditation lasting about 30 minutes, “I’ve been responsible for having taken up a good 140 hours of the last three popes’ precious time”, he said.