2013-06-01 L’Osservatore Romano
There are many Christians who do not know joy. And even when they are in a church to praise God, they seem as though they are attending a funeral procession instead of a joyous celebration. If they would learn to come out of themselves and give thanks God, to “spend time praising God, they can truly understand that joy which makes us free”.
Christian joy was at the centre of the reflection proposed by Pope Francis on Friday morning, 31 May, during the Mass celebrated in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. The Pope began by referring to the readings of the day from the book of Zephaniah (3:14-18) and the Gospel of Luke (1:39-56), saying that they “speak to us of joy and happiness: 'rejoice, shout for joy', says Zephaniah... 'The Lord is in the midst of you'... He too will rejoice over us. He, too, is joyful”.
“Everything is joy. But we Christians, we are not used to talking about joy, about happiness. I think that many times we prefer complaints! What is joy? The key to understanding this joy is in the Gospel: 'Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit'. What gives us joy is the Holy Spirit.
“It is the Spirit who guides us. He is the author of joy, the creator of joy, and this joy of the Holy Spirit gives us true Christian freedom. Without joy we Christians can not become free. We become slaves to our sorrows”.
The Pope then quoted “the great Pope Paul vi”, recalling when he said that “you cannot advance the Gospel with sad, hopeless, discouraged Christians. You cannot”. Sometimes Christians, instead of showing the joy of one who goes “to praise God”, have a face as if attending “a funeral procession”. Christian joy comes from praising God. “But what does it mean to praise God?”, asked the Pope. It is “to come out of oneself and praise him freely, as the grace he gives to us is free” he explained.
He went on to say that “if you do not praise God and do not know how to graciously waste time praising him, of course the Mass seems long! But if you go with this attitude of joy, praising God, this is beautiful”. Moreover, “eternity will be this: praising God. But this will not be boring, it will be wonderful. This joy makes us free”.
The Holy Father concluded by saying that “it is she, the Virgin Mary, who brings us joy... We need to pray to Our Lady because she brings Jesus who gives us the grace of joy, the joy of freedom, the grace to praise... because he is worthy of praise forever”.
Concelebrating with the Pope among others was Cardinal Jozef Tomko. Among those present were a group of employees of the Technical Services of the Governorate.