Pope Francis

By Devin Watkins

Nov 30 2023

At the weekly General Audience, Pope Francis continues his catechesis series on apostolic zeal, reflecting on the Christian mission to share the joy of the Gospel.

Pope Francis reflected on his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, in his catechesis on apostolic zeal at the Wednesday General Audience.

Msgr. Filippo Ciampanelli, an official of the Secretariat of State, read the Pope’s prepared catechesis, since he is still recovering from pulmonary inflammation.

He focused on the actuality of the Christian proclamation of the joy inherent in the message of Christ.

Contemporary pessimism

“One almost always hears bad things being said about today,” he noted, admitting that wars, climate change, and widespread injustices do lend credence to this contemporary pessimism.

The Pope said technological progress and individualism frequently combine to hand over our natural desires for greatness to “voracious economic logic”.

“We could even say that we find ourselves in the first civilization in history that globally seeks to organize a human society without the presence of God, concentrated in huge cities that remain horizontal despite their vertiginous skyscrapers.”

The Biblical tower of Babel jump to mind when considering this vicious cycle, said the Pope.

He noted that the temptation of a unified human thought is to descend into nationalism and a thirst for power.

‘Here and now’ of salvation

In response to this situation, Pope Francis said Evangelii Gaudium sought to invite the Church to evangelize our cultures by understanding humanity’s new ways of relating to God and each other.

“Jesus can be proclaimed only by inhabiting the culture of one’s own time; and always taking to heart the words of the Apostle Paul about the present: ‘Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation’,” he said.

Truth, added the Pope, becomes more credible when we bear witness to it with our lives.

Filling society with joy and hope of the Gospel

He went on to offer a more positive outlook on contemporary culture, noting that the Gospel offers a message of hope for every age, including our own.

“Apostolic zeal is never a simple repetition of an acquired style, but testimony that the Gospel is alive today here for us,” he said.

The Church, said the Pope, must go out into the streets of our world to foster encounter and unity, rather than shouting the name of Jesus from a balcony.

In conclusion, Pope Francis said the Church should be at the crossroads of society, so that Christians may fill our pessimistic societies with the hope and joy of the Gospel.

“Let us make Jesus’ desire our own: to help fellow travellers not to lose the desire for God, to open their hearts to Him and find the only One who, today and always, gives peace and joy to humanity.” – Vatican News