The Joy of The Gospel
A few months into Pope Francis’ pontificate, the Italian monk and theologian Enzo Bianchi did an analysis of the Pope’s writings, and noted that the two words he used most often were joy and mercy. Of course the two are related. At the heart of Christian faith is the encounter with God’s infinite mercy, revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Gospel of God’s saving love is “a treasure which makes us more human” and which helps us to live deeply and joyfully.
The joy of the Gospel is meant to be shared; “there is nothing more precious which we can give to others”. The Gospel is meant to overflow in us, to send us out into our neighborhoods and into our world. As Pope Francis puts it, a Church that has deeply experienced God’s mercy “has an endless desire to show mercy.” Indeed in responding to God’s great mercy it is summoned to a “revolution of tenderness.”
But what does it mean to be faithful to the Gospel in a world marred by injustice and extreme poverty; in a world, notes Pope Francis, where a homeless person dying on the street is not news, but a drop of two percent in the stock market is a disaster?
It was on the third day of his pontificate that Pope Francis, speaking to the large gathering of journalists who had covered the conclave, explained why he chose the name Francis, and exclaimed: “How I would like a Church which is poor and is for the poor!” The provocative sentence, reiterated in The Joy of the Gospel, summarizes the profound challenge he has placed before the Church. “I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.”
Holy Trinity's Adult Faith Formation Class will begin an in-depth exploration of this truly extraordinary document, which points us relentlessly to Jesus and the joy, hope and challenge which he brings us. Please join us on November 1st, right after the 9:00 Mass, as we embark on this six week journey of reflection and discussion, and may you know and live ever more faithfully The Joy of the Gospel.