Pope Francis said Wednesday that Christians who are always resentful and full of complaints are not credible witnesses to the Gospel because joy is an essential ingredient for evangelization.
“Humanity abounds with brothers and sisters waiting for a word of hope,” Pope Francis said in St. Peter’s Square on Nov. 15.
The pope explained that people today, like people of all times, need the Gospel and need Jesus, especially living in a society with “institutionalized secularity” that “leaves the spaces of religious meaning deserted.”
“This is the right moment to proclaim Jesus,” Pope Francis underlined.
“Immersed in today’s fast-paced and confused environment, we too indeed may find ourselves living our faith with a subtle sense of resignation, 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,” he added.
“Yet this is precisely the time to return to the Gospel to discover that Christ is always young and a constant source of newness.”
Pope Francis marked the 10th anniversary of the publication of his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) at his general audience on Wednesday.
“The Gospel is a proclamation of joy,” he said. “The Gospel is a smile, it makes you smile because it touches the soul with the good news.”
Francis explained: “This is why a Christian who is discontented, a sad Christian, a dissatisfied, or worse still, resentful or rancorous Christian, is not credible. This person will talk about Jesus but no one will believe him!”
The pope advised Christians to “keep watch over one’s sentiments” and to remember “the joy of having the risen Jesus.”
Quoting Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis said: “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.”
Pope Francis has led a series of nearly weekly reflections on “the passion for evangelization” since January at his Wednesday general audiences.
At the end of his general audience, the pope encouraged people to remember to pray for peace every day.
“Let us pray, brothers and sisters, for peace, especially for the battered Ukraine that suffers so much, and then in the Holy Land, in Palestine and Israel, and let us not forget Sudan that suffers so much, and think wherever there is war, there are so many wars! Let’s pray for peace — every day take some time to pray for peace. We want peace,” Pope Francis said.
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Our mission is the truth. Join us!
Your monthly donation will help our team continue reporting the truth, with fairness, integrity, and fidelity to Jesus Christ and his Church.