Pope Francis begins ‘Joy of the Gospel’ with these two paragraphs, ” The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew. In this Exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.
A joy ever new, a joy which is shared. The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ.”
We live in a consumerist society. We often approach religion with the same attitude that we approach movies, the supermarket, jobs. We put our money in the collection basket (and in far to many cases we put nothing in the collection basket) and we expect our spiritual needs to be met. As Pope Francis said, “Our interior life becomes caught up in its own interest and concerns.” We are only concerned with feeling close to God. We measure our prayer life by how much or how little we feel the presence of God. This can easily be a mask for being caught up in our own interests and concerns.
Pope Francis writes, “Life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort. Indeed those who enjoy life most are those who leave security on the shore and become excited by the mission of communicating life to others.” You are on a mission from God. We must be like the apostles who were willing to leave their nets and fishing boats and follow Jesus.
If we are truly seeking to follow Jesus the day will come when Jesus will ask us to risk everything for Him. Question of the day. Are you willing to risk everything for Jesus?