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Pope Francis: A Church without joy is unthinkable



(Vatican Radio) The Church must always be joyful like Christ. That was the message of Pope Francis at Mass this morning at the Casa Santa Marta. The Pope emphasized that the Church is called to transmit the joy of the Lord to her children—a joy that gives true peace.

Peace and joy. Pope Francis’ homily dwelt on these two themes. In the reading from the book of Isaiah, he noted, we see the desire for peace that we all have. It is the peace, says Isaiah, that the Messiah brings to us. In the Gospel, on the other hand, “we are able to see a little into the soul of Jesus, the heart of Jesus: a joyful heart”:

“We always think of Jesus when He preaches, when He heals, when He travels, walks along the street, even during the Last Supper. . . But we aren’t used to thinking about Jesus smiling, joyful. Jesus was full of joy, full of joy. In that intimacy with His Father: ‘I rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and I praised the Father.’ It is precisely the internal mystery of Jesus, that relationship with the Father in the Spirit. It is His internal joy, the interior joy that He gives to us.”

“And this joy,” he said, “is true peace: not a static peace, quiet, tranquil” no, “Christian peace is a joyful peace, because our Lord is joyful.” And, too, He is joyful “when He speaks about the Father: He loves the Father so much that He can’t talk about Him without joy.” Our God, the Pope said, “is joyful.” And Jesus has willed that His spouse, the Church, should also be joyful”:

“You can’t imagine a Church without joy; and the joy of the Church lies precisely in this: to proclaim the name of Jesus. To say: ‘He is the Lord. My spouse is the Lord. He is God. He saves us, He walks with us.’ And that is the joy of the Church, that in this joy of being a bride becomes a mother. Paul VI said: the joy of the Church is precisely to evangelize, to go forth and to speak about her Spouse. And also to transmit that joy to the children that she bears, that she raises.”

And so, he said, let us consider that the peace of which Isaiah speaks “is a peace that is so moving, it is a peace of joy, a peace of praise,” it is a peace that we could say is “noisy, in praise, a peace that bears fruit in becoming a mother of new children.” It is a peace, Pope Francis said, “that comes precisely in the joy of praise for the Trinity, and of evangelization, of going to the people to tell them who Jesus is.” Peace and joy, he repeated. And he pointed to the words of Jesus, “a dogmatic declaration,” when He affirms, “You decided to reveal Yourself not to the wise, but to the little ones”:

“Even in so many serious things, such as this, Jesus is joyful, the Church is joyful. She must be joyful. Even in her widowhood—because the Church has something of the widow who waits for her spouse to come back—even in her widowhood, the Church is joyful in hope. The Lord gives this joy to all of us, this joy of Jesus, praising the Father in the Spirit. This joy of our mother Church in evangelizing, in announcing her Spouse.

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