Fr Stefan reflects on Gospel Jan 13 and Pope Francis “Joy of the Gospel’

We read this morning at mass, “As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fisherman. Jesus said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ They they left nets and followed him. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets . then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired man and followed him.”(Mk 1:17-20)

Pope Francis wrote, “How I long to find the right words to stir up enthusiasm for a new chapter of evangelization full of fervor, joy, generosity, courage, boundless love and attraction! Yet I realize that no words of encouragement will be enough unless the fire of the Holy Spirit burns in our hearts. A spirit filled evangelization is one guided by the Holy Spirit, for he is the soul of the Church called to proclaim the Gospel.” 

Pope Francis said that we need to have the Holy Spirit  burn in our hearts. I love these words so simple yet so profound. Simple in that we need to beg the Holy Spirit to come into our hearts. It is profound in that it turns our normal way of doing things upside down. We often treat evangelization as just another project. We write papers, we form committees. Pope Benedict said in his last interview, “Bishop must not treat their pastoral program as if they are the yard stick of what the Holy Spirit is allowed to do.”

Paul VI wrote in Evangelii nuntiandi, “techniques of evangelization are good, but not even the most perfect of them could replace the gentle action of the Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, the finest preparation of the evangelist has no effect. Without him, the most convincing dialectic is powerless over the mind of men, and the most elaborate projects based in sociological or psychological data prove vain and worthless…It is no accident that evangelization has its great beginning on the morning if Pentecost under the breath of the Holy Spirit.”

Simon and Peter were simple men, but they had the Holy Spirit burning in their hearts? Do we have the Holy Spirit burning in our hearts. Pope Francis says, “in order to have the adventure of the Christian life we must leave all our security on the shore of Galilee and follow Jesus.”

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