reflections, updates and homilies from Deacon Mike Talbot inspired by the following words from my ordination: Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach...
During his General Audience, Pope Francis continues his cycle of catecheses on apostolic zeal, and tells the faithful that "each day is a time of grace" and "new opportunity" for those who follow Christ.
By Deborah Castellano Lubov
For Christ's followers, every day is a 'time of grace' and new opportunity.
Pope Francis gave this encouragement during his Wednesday General Audience in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, as he continued his cycle of catecheses on apostolic zeal.
This week, the Holy Father explored how Jesus himself chose to present His message.
In the synagogue of Nazareth, at the very beginning of his public ministry, the Pope recalled, the Lord revealed that, fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy, He came to proclaim Good News to the poor and a year of favour from the Lord.
The Pope said Jesus communicated with certain essential elements, especially joy, freedom, light, healing and awe.
“One cannot speak of Jesus without joy, because faith is a wonderful love story to be shared...”
Gospel can only be conveyed joyfully
To witness to Jesus, to do something for others in His name, the Pope recalled, witnesses such a beautiful gift "that no words are sufficient to express it."
Instead, when joy is lacking, the Pope warned, the Gospel is not transmitted to others, the Good News, by its very nature, is "a proclamation of joy."
"A sad Christian can speak of beautiful things, but it is all in vain if the proclamation he conveys is not joyful," he said.
Contagious joy, a new life
“The Gospel of Jesus Christ is, as the prophet foretold, a saving message that brings contagious joy, authentic freedom, the promise of spiritual rebirth as God’s beloved sons and daughters, and definitive healing from the oppression of sin and death.”
We who have put our faith in Jesus and experienced the transformative power of His word, the Pope suggested, are called "not only to give thanks for this wondrous gift," but also "to share it freely and joyfully with others."
"For Christ’s followers," the Pope insisted, "every day is thus a 'time of grace' and a new opportunity" to bear witness to the Good News of God's mercy, forgiveness, and new life in Jesus.
God forgets everything when we ask forgiveness
The Holy Father underscored how "God forgets everything" when we approach Him asking forgiveness.
"He pardons everything," the Pope stressed.
“How great is our God!”
God is the master of the surprises, the Pope said, noting He is always waiting for us.
The Lord waits for us
To welcome the Lord, we need to make ourselves poor interiorly.
Pope Francis concluding by urging faithful to turn to Jesus, admitting we are not self-sufficient.
If we humbly express that we need Him, He will be there accompanying us, the Pope suggested.
The Holy Father also made another appeal for wartorn Ukraine, saying for the faithful to pray for the country, each and every day.
Pope Francis also remembered that later this week International Holocaust Remembrance Day will be observed, and recalled those suffering globally with Hansen's Disease.