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Gospel Joy: Evangelii Gaudium (New Series!)

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

“The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew. In this Exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come” [EG 1].
With these stirring words, Pope Francis begins his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Guadium, The Joy of the Gospel, and so we likewise begin our new series exploring the themes and challenges which the Holy Father presents to the Church on the “proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world”. We will consider how we, as a Church, communicate the most powerful, inspiring two thousand year old story of Jesus Christ, in the modern age.  How do we preach God’s love to a world that appears so unreceptive, to an audience seemingly deaf to our words? These are fundamental questions for us Dominican Students, belonging to an order whose principal task is to preach, but they are also of the utmost importance for all Christians.
Well, Pope Francis is leading by example! Many people - who, hitherto, have had little interest or regard for the Church - have expressed new-found enthusiasm, admiration and an openness to what the Church is saying as a result of what one friend has called Pope Francis’s “leading with love”. What a dynamic, joyful witness we have in St. Peter’s successor!
Lest this Evangelii Gaudium be misunderstood as an exercise in Public Relations or some sort of political manifesto, let us be clear at the outset of this series that at the heart of the Pope’s message is an invitation to us, to “all Christians, everywhere”, to “a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ” [EG 3].  Miss this, and frankly, you miss the point.  Everything that the Holy Father addresses is rooted in Jesus Christ and His inestimable love for us.
We invite you to join us over the course of the next month as we reflect upon the concerns which the Pope exhorts us to consider, take to heart, and act upon; "For if we have received the love which restores meaning to our lives, how can we fail to share that love with others?" [EG 8].

Samuel Burke OP


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