Resetting the Conversation on The Gospel of Joy

Resetting the Conversation on The Gospel of Joy December 11, 2013

There has been a tremendous amount of commentary surrounding The Gospel of Joy, Pope Francis’s recent apostolic exhortation, which was his feedback to the Synod on the New Evangelization Pope Benedict convened last year to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the Year of Faith.

Now that everyone seems to have commented on the commentary, Time magazine naming Pope Francis Man of the Year provides us an opportunity to reset the conversation a bit and actually look at the gift that Pope Benedict and the Holy Spirit have given us in this first pope from the Americas, one whose very life seems to be a pastoral encounter with Christ.

In gratitude, Jennifer Manning, a Catholic high-school teacher in New England, who is a volunteer with Catholic Voices USA, a group I help direct, wrote a practical reflection for my friends at The Catholic New Agency pointing to three (since he is so into three points in his regular homilies) lessons in Pope Francis’s Gospel of Joy.

Be a joyful messenger. 

Know that Jesus Christ loves you.

Live the Gospel of Joy.

You can read what Jennifer has to say here.

I’ve commented a few places now that both joy and the Gospels seemed to be lost in most of the headlines and commentary about Evangelii Gaudium. Let’s all take this reset opportunity – it echoes the movement of the last year, toward Christ, opening doors.

What are you and I doing to open doors to Christ? That’s a question we ought to be asking this Advent in a prayerful way. This is about our lives and souls and we are to be missionaries! That’s Gospel truth. And oh how Pope Francis models this and implores the flock he guides (and wakes up!).

This was my reaction to Time’s announcement this morning. And this is an interview I did with another Catholic Voice, from New York, Daniela Adames. I also had a little to say about the pope’s exhortation in my syndicated column this week. Finally, Michael Coren’s new book, The Future of Catholicism, is excellent and we talk about that future extensively here.


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