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A joy loud with praise

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


(by L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly ed. in English, n. 49, 6 December 2013)


In his homily at Mass Pope Francis spoke about peace and joy. “The word of God,” he began, “speaks to us today of peace and joy. Isaiah in his prophecy (11:1-10) tells us what the day of the Messiah will be like. They will be days of peace, and in the Gospel of Luke (10:21-24), we are able to glimpse a little of Jesus’ soul, of Jesus’ heart. His is a joyful heart”.

Pope Francis then observed that, while we are accustomed to think of Jesus preaching, healing, walking through the streets speaking to people, or even being raised upon the Cross, “we are not accustomed to think of Jesus smiling, or joyful”. However, he said, “Jesus was full of joy”.

Jesus’ joy finds its source in intimacy with the Father, Pope Francis said. “His inner joy comes precisely from this relationship with the Father in the Holy Spirit. And this is the joy he gives to us, and this joy is true peace. It is not a static, quiet, tranquil peace: Christian peace is a joyful peace for Jesus is joyful, God is joyful”.

“In the Collect at the beginning of Mass,” he continued, “we asked for the grace of a missionary fervour in order that the Church might rejoice in new children”. “A Church without joy is unthinkable”, the Pope said, since “Jesus has desired that his bride, the Church, be joyful”. “The joy of the Church is to announce the name of Jesus, and to proclaim: My spouse is the Lord, he is God who saves us and accompanies us”.

In this joy of a bride, Pope Francis added, the Church becomes a mother. “Pope Paul VI would say: the joy of the Church is to evangelize” and to communicate this joy “to her children”.

“Thus we understand that the peace of which Isaiah speaks is a peace full of joy, a peace of praise, a peace — we might say — that is loud with praise, a peace that bears fruit in becoming a mother of new children, a peace that comes precisely from the joy of praising the Trinity, and from evangelization, of going out to people to tell them who Jesus is”.

Peace and joy, Pope Francis repeated. This joy, he said, is contained in “Jesus’ dogmatic declaration: you have decided to reveal yourself not to the wise but to the little ones”. Even in so many serious things, Jesus is joyful, the Church is joyful. She must be joyful. Even in her widowhood the Church is joyful in hope”. “Let us pray”, Pope Francis concluded, “that the Lord might give us all this joy”.


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