Sharing Faith: Joy and Responsibility

14 Mar

005

The Gospel is truth, creates a hunger for truth, fosters a love of God and the desire to share God’s love and mercy with others. 

Pope Francis, in his great book, “Joy of the Gospel,” calls all of us to a renewed faith and intimacy with our Lord, Jesus Christ.

He states:

  • Those who meet and know Christ are filled with joy—a joy that overcomes the darkness of sin and hopelessness.
  • To know and love God is to discover the depths of being human.
  • Francis “invites all Christians” to a renewed and personal encounter with Christ.
  • There are Christians “whose lives seem like Lent without Easter”; no one wants to listen to a “sourpuss.”
  • Those who evangelize, those who “give life away,” increase their life and joy. “When the Church summons Christians to take up the task of evangelization, she is simply pointing to the source of authentic personal fulfillment.”

Seven Topics of Concern

The Holy Father, as he launches into the body of his apostolic exhortation, lists seven topics he will discuss. They are:

  • The reform of the Church in her missionary outreach.
  • The temptation faced by pastoral workers.
  • The homily and its presentation.
  • The Church understood as the entire People of God–who evangelize.
  • The inclusion of the poor in society.
  • Peace and dialog within society.
  • The spiritual motivation for mission.

I encourage everyone to read this magnificent document (see JoAnn in the bookstore).

But I have chosen to treat two of these topics as one—temptation faced by pastoral workers, and the homily and its preparation.

The direction Pope Francis gives in “Joy of the Gospel” is beneficial for everyone, clergy and laity alike, and perhaps especially for parents who want to help their children—young and old—to stay close to God and the Church.

Four Important Things to Remember

Anyone who wants to pass on our Catholic faith must remember at least these four things:

  • God’s invitation to holiness is constant—and we are to seek holiness. Holiness enables us to recognize that God is in others, regardless of their faith, lack of faith or antagonism towards the Gospel.
  • The definitive truths and disciplines of our faith are not without foundation and focus. They are not successfully passed on as disjointed beliefs and behavioral demands. They spring from the heart and mind of Christ. Evangelization is compromised by pharisaical harshness and narrow-mindedness.
  • We must remember that the faithful transmission of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will reveal the “centrality of certain truths.” It will become evident, through the conviction that God is Love and loves us, that the Church’s moral teachings are liberating rather than stifling.
  •  If we are true believers, our faith seeks to find rest in other human hearts. It gives a loving and constant invitation to everyone we meet. And “under no circumstance,” says our Holy Father, “can this invitation be obscured.”

Pope Francis reminds us that to evangelize is to cooperate with the liberating work of the Spirit.

This indicates that all of us, baptized and nourished by God’s Word and the Holy Eucharist, are to seek the guidance and gifts of the Holy Spirit to manifest God’s love. We are to do so in every place and situation each and every day of our lives.

In the Spirit we will “go forth from ourselves” towards our brothers and sisters—whoever and wherever they may be.

 

 

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One Response to “Sharing Faith: Joy and Responsibility”

  1. Bilingual Spanish March 14, 2014 at 11:42 am #

    Seek holiness by, constantly, turning to God; seeing things through His perspective and quieting oneself enough to notice Him all around!

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