‘Joy of the Gospel’

22 Jan

 

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Exalt in the Word of the Lord! For he loves us unconditionally!

Pope Francis has given the Church a great gift in his “Joy of the Gospel” (Evangelii Gaudium).

In this book published last November, the Holy Father both edifies and challenges Catholics in their faith. He urges us to believe that God loves us. He challenges us to love others as God loves us.

That love for others, from the faithful heart, of necessity will result in sharing the cause of our joy and hope with others, with everyone in our life, with everyone we meet.

Continuing the vision of John XXIII, Blessed John Paul and Benedict XVI, he is calling us to recapture the fervor and focus of the early Church, that fervor which, for example, brought 3,000 people into the Church on the heels of that first Christian Pentecost. Or, again, the fervor which motivated Deacons Stephen, Ephraim, Philip and Francis to bring God’s Word and his wisdom to the people of their time.

And we can’t help but recall other great saints such as Teresa of Avila, Therese the Little Flower, Mother Teresa, John of the Cross, John Chrysostom and Peter Chrysologos.

Here are some gleanings from “Joy of the Gospel.”

Pope Francis insists that each Catholic is responsible for sharing God’s love and the Gospel of Christ. He says that the Church goes forth to bring God’s word to all people. The Church (that means all of us) must leave her comfort zone to follow Christ’s command to make disciples of all nations.

 The Church “which goes forth is a community of missionary disciples who take the first step.” This community knows that the Lord Jesus has taken the first step—he has lived among us, taught us and died and risen from the dead for us. He is asking us to do what he did. 

Pope Francis envisions a “ ‘missionary option,’ a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, time and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.”

Please, read and reflect on this message from our Holy Father. Reflect on it with family members, friends and fellow parishioners. Pope Francis is ushering us into a new Pentecost– and that’s what the “New Evangelization” is all about.

(You may download the document from www.holysee.org and click on Apostolic Exhortations. Or, you may obtain it from Word Among Us Press, www.wordamongus.org , for less than $10.00.)

 

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