JOY OF THE GOSPEL REFLECTIONS

APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION EVANGELII GAUDIUM

NOTE: The number before paragraphs in Joy of Gospel references indicate the paragraph number in actual document.

POPE FRANCIS INVITES US INTO THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL
“The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. I invite all Christians everywhere at this very moment to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her since no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.”

 

“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold,

I bring you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,
who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10

REFLECTION
Pope Francis makes clear that God always takes the intiative in seeking his lost sheep by any means necessary. No one is excluded or left behind. God knows our need for Him and His nourishment. So we too as disciples and missionaries must not dismiss anyone or judge anyone unworthy of our engagement.

JOY OF THE GOSPEL
180 Jesus’ mission is to inaugurate the kingdom of his Father; he commands his disciples to proclaim the good news that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand ” Matthew. 10:7

24 “The life of the Church should always reveal clearly that God takes the initiative, that he has loved us first.”We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19. The Joy of the Gospel is for all people no one can be excluded. People are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us, “Give them something to eat”. Mark 6:37″

92 “We must not avoid others or exclude anyone from our mission. We are all in same boat and headed to same port. Let us ask for the grace to rejoice in gifts of each, which belong to all.”

113 “No one is saved by himself or herself, individually or by his or her own efforts. Jesus did not tell the apostles to form an exclusive and elite group. He told them to go and make disciples of all nations.” Mt.28:19

REFLECTION
Pope Francis warns us there are many enemies and obstacles to living the Gospel and spreading the Good News to others. To be on our guard and prepare for the spiritual warfare we encounter daily with the world, the flesh, and the devil. We live in parallel universe this temporal world and a spirit filled eternity.

JOY OF THE GOSPEL
64 “We are living in an information driven society which bombards us indiscriminately with data all treated as being of equal importance and which leads to remarkable superficiality in the area of moral discernment.”

263 “Every period of history is marked by the presence of human weakness, self-absorption, complacency and selfishness, to say nothing of the concupiscence which preys upon us all.”

79 “Pastoral workers often fall prey to the times. Some fall into pastoral acedia or spiritual torpor (lethargy) by taking on unreasonable projects instead of what they reasonably can accomplish. Others just because they just can’t wait, patience is not a virtue in this society of instant gratification.”

 

REFLECTION
Pope Francis makes suggestions on how preachers and evangelists should prepare for their missions. You cannot give what you yourself don’t possess. Read the bible, pray over the Bible, ask yourselves what God is saying to me today and how do I respond today!

JOY OF THE GOSPEL
145 “Preparation for preaching needs a prolonged time for preparation, a time for study, prayer, and reflection. Whoever wants to preach must first let the Word of God move him deeply and become incarnate in his daily life. One will then be communicating to others what one has contemplated and prayed about.

150 To evangelize is to make the kingdom of God present in our world. “Seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew. 6:33 Preparation requires the Love of God and like every true disciple say, “Speak Lord for your servant is listening.” I Sam. 3:9

164 First and foremost on lips of catechists is the proclamation, “Jesus Christ loves you, he gave his life to save you and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you.”

 

REFLECTION
Pope Francis reiterates Jesus’ love for the poor and most vulnerable and how in imitation of Jesus as disciples we are to make the vulnerable our priority in our ministry. Jesus loved the poor and performed many miracles of physical and spiritual healing. No one was too far gone in Jesus’ eyes to walk away. He engaged everyone, bolstered their faith and encouraged them to repent and sin no more

JOY OF THE GOSPEL
197 God’s heart has a special place for the poor so much so that he himself became poor, born in a manger in the midst of animals. When he began to preach the kingdom, crowds of the dispossessed followed him.

198 Inspired by this life of Christ, the Church has always understood a special form of primacy of the poor in exercise of Christian Charity. The poor have much to share with us. They know the sufferings of Christ. We need to let ourselves be evangelized by them. We are called to find Christ in them and to lend our voices to their causes.

213 Jesus identifies especially with the little ones, the vulnerable. As Christians we are called to care for the vulnerable of the earth. Among the vulnerable to whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us.

213 Defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable in any situation and in every stage of development. Every violation of the personal dignity is an offense against the creator of that individual.

 

REFLECTION
Pope Francis encourages us not to shy away from our mission because of difficulties. He preaches that hope will bring about the desired changes even if we ourselves do not see the results.

JOY OF THE GOSPEL
275 Some people do not commit themselves to mission because they think that nothing will change and that it is useless to make the effort. If we think things are never going to change we need to recall that Jesus Christ has triumphed over sin and death. A true missionary knows that Jesus walks with him, speaks to him, breathes wih him, and works with him. A person, who is not convinced, enthusiastic, certain, and in love will convince nobody.

278 Let us believe the Gospel when it tells us that the kingdom of God is already present in this world and is growing here and there and in different ways like “the small seed which grows into the great tree.” (Mt. 13:31) and like the “good seed that grows amid the weeds.” (Mt. 13:24) and can always pleasantly surprise us. Jesus did not rise in vain.

279 Let us be assured that none of our acts of love will be lost nor any of our acts of sincere concern for others. Sometimes it seems our acts are fruitless but don’t believe it. None will be lost; no effort is meaningless; no painful endurance is wasted. All of these encircle our world like a vital force giving life according to God’s holy will. The Holy Spirit works His will where He wills, even across the globe.

GOOD NEWS, BELIEVE!
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