Often enough, the first people who need to be evangelised are Christians themselves, Pope Francis said yesterday. Source: NCR Online.
“A Christian who is discontented, sad, dissatisfied, or worse still, resentful or rancorous, is not credible” and will not attract anyone to a relationship with Jesus and a life of faith, the Pope said at his weekly general audience.
After almost a year of audience talks about “zeal for evangelisation” and highlighting the example of saints and other exemplary men and women from around the world, Francis said his last talks in the series would focus on four points from his 2013 apostolic exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel”.
The first point, the subject of yesterday’s talk, was the essential role of joy in the life of Christians and in their ability to share the Gospel with others.
“The Gospel is not an ideology; the Gospel is a proclamation of joy,” he said. “All ideologies are cold, but the Gospel has the warmth of joy. Ideologies don’t make people smile, but the Gospel is a smile. It makes you smile because it touches your soul with the Good News.”
Saying the first people who need to be evangelised are Christians themselves, the Pope asked those gathered for the audience to reflect on how well they preserve and share the joy of knowing that God sent his son into the world, that Jesus loves each person always, that he offered his life out of love and wants to give each person eternal life.
Especially in places where it seems most people are not interested in religion, he said, Christians must recognise that “humanity abounds with brothers and sisters waiting for a word of hope”.
People are waiting to hear the Gospel message “even today,” the Pope said. “People of all times need it, even the civilisation of programmed unbelief and institutionalised secularity; indeed, especially the society that leaves the spaces of religious meaning deserted. This is the right moment for the proclamation of Jesus.”
‘This is the right moment’ to share Gospel joy, Pope says (By Cindy Wooden, CNS via NCR Online)