Thursday, November 16, 2023

Pope: there is a thirst for the Gospel even in the society of programmed unbelief

Pope at Audience: Jesus is our joy - Vatican News

At the general audience, Francis relaunches the message of his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, published ten years ago. He makes a fesh appeal to the faithful to "take time to pray for peace for the tormented Ukraine, in the Holy Land, Palestine, Israel. And let us not forget Sudan, which suffers so much and everywhere there is war'.

 "Even the civilization of programmed disbelief and institutionalized secularity" awaits the Gospel. Indeed, "that leaves the spaces of religious meaning deserted," is a "favorable moment for the announcement of Jesus," said Pope Francis Wednesday while addressing the faithful present in St. Peter's Square for the Wednesday audience.

The meeting was once again marked by concern for the many wars that are bloodying the world. “Let us take some time to pray for peace”, invited the pontiff “in a special way for the tormented Ukraine, which suffers so much” and then “in the Holy Land, Palestine, Israel. And let's not forget Sudan which suffers so much and there is war everywhere."

After presenting a gallery of witnesses to apostolic zeal in recent weeks, in his catechesis Pope Francis has begun to summarize the message through some points inspired by his apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium, which turns ten this month.

Today, in particular, he focused on the theme of the joy of the evangelizer. “What is the reason for this great joy?” he asked himself. Not simply "good news, a surprise, a beautiful event", but "a Person: Jesus. He is our Gospel, the source of a joy that never passes".

“The question – he added – is therefore not whether to announce it, but how to announce it, and this 'how' is joy. This is why a discontented, sad, dissatisfied or, even worse, resentful and resentful Christian is not credible. The Gospel is not an ideology: the Gospel is a proclamation, a proclamation of joy."

Citing the episode of the two disciples of Emmaus, he recalled how the encounter with the Risen One led them to deal "with their immature faith, with an earthly way of believing, linked to expectations of worldly success. With their hearts set afire by the Word of God that he proclaimed to them, they then recognized him in the breaking of the bread and joyfully returned to Jerusalem to announce his resurrection to the others".

“The first to be evangelized – the Pope added – The first who to need to be evangelized are us: we Christians. And this is very important. Immersed in today’s fast-pace and confused environment, we too indeed may find ourselves living our faith with a subtle sense of renunciation, persuaded that the Gospel is no longer heard and no longer worth striving to proclaim. We might even be tempted by the idea of letting “others” go their own way. Instead, this is precisely the time to return to the Gospel to discover that Christ “is forever young, he is forever a constant source of newness" (Evangelii gaudium, 11). And that "humanity abounds with brothers and sisters waiting for a word of hope".

Hence the invitation to everyone to stop and think: "Jesus, you are within me. I want to encounter you every day. You are a Person, you are not an idea; you are a travelling companion, you are not a programme. You, Jesus, are the source of joy. You are the beginning of evangelization. You, Jesus, are the source of joy!”."