Reflection from ‘Joy of the Gospel’ Pope Francis Eternal Newness ‘Soul Institute’

Pope Francis writes in ‘Joy of the Gospel’ ” The Church never fails to be amazed at “the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God” (Rom 11:33). Saint John of the Cross says that “the thicket of God’s wisdom and knowledge is so deep and so broad that the soul, however much it has come to know of it, can always penetrate deeper within it”.[7] Or as Saint Irenaeus writes: “By his coming, Christ brought with him all newness”.[8] With this newness he is always able to renew our lives and our communities, and even if the Christian message has known periods of darkness and ecclesial weakness, it will never grow old. Jesus can also break through the dull categories with which we would enclose him and he constantly amazes us by his divine creativity. Whenever we make the effort to return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up, with different forms of expression, more eloquent signs and words with new meaning for today’s world. Every form of authentic evangelization is always “new”.

12. Though it is true that this mission demands great generosity on our part, it would be wrong to see it as a heroic individual undertaking, for it is first and foremost the Lord’s work, surpassing anything which we can see and understand. Jesus is “the first and greatest evangelizer”.[9] In every activity of evangelization, the primacy always belongs to God, who has called us to cooperate with him and who leads us on by the power of his Spirit. The real newness is the newness which God himself mysteriously brings about and inspires, provokes, guides and accompanies in a thousand ways. The life of the Church should always reveal clearly that God takes the initiative, that “he has loved us first” (1 Jn 4:19) and that he alone “gives the growth” (1 Cor 3:7). This conviction enables us to maintain a spirit of joy in the midst of a task so demanding and challenging that it engages our entire life. God asks everything of us, yet at the same time he offers everything to us.”

The love of the Heart of Jesus is the source of all evangelization. The most important thing is not how much we love God, but how much he has loved us. If we love God it is because he has first loved us. God takes the initiative by first loving us. 

Jesus brings an eternal newness. Jesus makes the church youthful. The Holy Spirit  makes all things new. The Holy Spirit doesn’t create anything new. The Holy Spirit makes the old things shine with an eternal newness. As Pope Francis wrote, ” Jesus can also break through the dull categories with which we would enclose him and he constantly amazes us by his divine creativity. Whenever we make the effort to return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up, with different forms of expression, more eloquent signs and words with new meaning for today’s world. Every form of authentic evangelization is always “new”.

We need this eternal newness given to us by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is like a breath of fresh air that cools us off in the hot afternoon. The Church is a ship that was meant to sail the 7 seas. Over time this ship has been covered with barnacles that have slowed it down. The Holy Spirit removes the barnacles on this ship so that she can sail effortlessly through the oceans of the world proclaiming the Gospel.

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