Missionary Discipleship and the Emanation of Joy

We often feel the joy that comes from serving our church in the mission of evangelization in our given vocation and as leaders. However, are we aware of the joy that we have shared when we do this beautiful work?When we do a great act of charity or start a good project or finish a well-written document, or when we prepare a great homily that resonates with our parishioners: that is sharing the joy.

Evangelization always begins with ourselves: our homes, places of work, parishes, and ministries. How much joy do we feel when we do unconditional favors for our family members, volunteers of the church and co-workers in our ministries?

Let’s reflect on the words of Pope Francis from his message for World Mission in 2014:

“Today vast numbers of people still do not know Jesus Christ. For this reason, the mission ad gentes continues to be most urgent. All the members of the Church are called to participate in this mission, for the Church is missionary by her very nature: she was born ‘to go forth’. The Holy Spirit, sent by the Father, offers wisdom and strength to those who are obedient to his action. It is a celebration of joy, because Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, sent to evangelize the world, supports and accompanies our missionary efforts.”

Pope Francis never tires of teaching us about the centrality of joy in the mission to evangelize: “The Evangelist tells us that the Lord sent the seventy-two disciples two by two into cities and villages to proclaim that the Kingdom of God was near, and to prepare people to meet Jesus.”  After carrying out this mission of preaching, the disciples returned full of joy: joy is a dominant theme of this first and unforgettable missionary experience. ”

Let’s continue to work together to make our parishes places of joy because, as the Jesuit philosopher, Fr. Pierre Teilhard wrote, “Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.”

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