The pope's visit to Korea is approaching and there is hope within the Church that it will be more than an event, but an occasion for renewal. The editor's column in the Peace Weekly asks what is to be done and where do we begin? He, like many others feels the exhortation of the pope: Joy of the Gospel is a good place to start.
selects two areas, not in their degree of importance, but rather of ease
in discussion, the need as Christians to live full of joy, and the
second is to embark upon a new way of evangelization with new paths
for the Church's future journey.
These two are not to be separated. The life of a Christian has to be one with obvious joy for without joy the words we express of Gospel joy become empty.This living the joyous life is a prerequisite for evangelization and its foundation.
pope in the exhortation mentions those "Christians whose lives seem
like Lent without Easter" (#6). " Evangelizers must never look like
someone who has just come back from a funeral!"(#10) He stresses we must
live a joy-filled life.
Why is it that we do not live this joy-filled life? "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." When this happens: "the quiet joy of his love is no longer
felt, and the desire to do good fades." These are the words in (# 2) of the exhortation.
The pope gives us the prescription for this kind of life." I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed
personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting
him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day.
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'. The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take
a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there,
waiting for us with open arms... No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed
upon us by this boundless and unfailing love. With a tenderness which
never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy" (#3).
is another reason we are not living this life of joy? We are not sure
that we are loved by Jesus. Because we are Christians does
not mean we will not have pain and sorrow in our lives. "Joy adapts and changes, but it always endures, even as a flicker of
light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and
done, we are infinitely loved." The pope goes on to explain: "But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love
of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new
every morning." (#6).
To live with this Gospel joy we need to open our hearts and secondly, to have unlimited trust in his love. If there are any Christians without the joy let them
pay attention and practice this in their daily life. He also feels a
need to do this in his own life. He concludes that he has always been open and proud of being a Catholic but has not lived a clearly joy-filled life.