Pope: one cannot be Christian without "the wonder of joy"
"When in our parishes, in our communities, in our institutions we find people who say they are Christians and want to be Christian but are sad, there is something wrong. And we must help them to find Jesus, to take away that sadness, so they may rejoice in the Gospel, so they may have this joy which is proper to the Gospel".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "The Christian identity card is joy, the joy of the Gospel, the joy of having been chosen by Jesus, saved by Jesus, regenerated by Jesus”, said Pope Francis at Mass this morning in Casa Santa Marta. He was taking a cue from the First Letter of Peter, noting that even if we are plagued by trials, we will never be deprived of the joy "of what God has done in us"," he has regenerated us in Christ and has given us a hope".
The Pope continued, we can go towards "the hope" that "the early Christians depicted as an anchor in heaven." "We grab hold of the rope and go there", towards "the hope" that gives us joy. "A Christian is a man and a woman of joy, a man and a woman with joy in their heart. There is no such thing as a Christian without joy! 'But, Father, I've seen so many things!' – ‘They are not Christian! They say they are, but they are not! They lack something '. The Christian identity card is the joy, the joy of the Gospel, the joy of having been elected by Jesus, saved by Jesus, regenerated by Jesus; the joy of the hope that Jesus is waiting for us, the joy that - even with the crosses and sufferings of this life - is expressed in another way, which is peace in the certainty that Jesus is with us, He is with us. " "The Christian nurtures this joy with trust in God. God always remembers his covenant." And in turn, "Christians know that God remembers him, that God loves him, that God accompanies him, that God is waiting for him. And this is joy".
In today's Gospel, which narrates the encounter between Jesus and the rich young man, you see a man who "has not been able to open his hearts to joy and chose sadness", "for he had many" goods. "He was attached to the goods! Jesus told us that one cannot serve two masters: for either we serve God or serve riches. Riches are not bad in themselves, but being in the service of our riches, that is wickedness. The poor man went away sad ... 'He frowned and he went away sorrowful'. When in our parishes, in our communities, in our institutions we find people who say they are Christians and want to be Christian but are sad, there is something wrong. And we must help them to find Jesus, to take away that sadness, so they may rejoice in the Gospel, so they may have this joy which is proper to the Gospel".
The Pope then reflected on "joy and wonder". "A healthy wonder - he said – before revelation, before the love of God, before the emotions of the Holy Spirit". The Christian "is a man, a woman of wonder". A word that we find again at the end, "when Jesus explains to the Apostles how that young man who was so good, could not follow him, because he was attached to riches." Who can be saved, therefore ask the apostles? The Lord answers: "This is impossible for men", "but not for God." Christian joy, then, "the wonder of joy, being saved from a life attached to other things, to high society - the many forms of worldliness that distance us from Jesus – are only possible with the power of God, with the Holy Spirit":
"Today we ask the Lord to gift us wonder in front of him, in front of so many spiritual treasures that He has given us; and with this wonder to give us joy, joy in our lives and to experience the many difficulties of life with peace in our hearts; and protect us from seeking happiness in so many things that ultimately sadden us, which promise much, but which do not give us anything! Always remember: a Christian is a man and a woman of joy, joy in the Lord; a man and a woman of wonder".