The hermeneutic for reading Pope Francis

pope francis evangelii gaudium

From the first Jubilee Audience of Pope Francis:

“When we receive good news or have a good experience it is natural that we wish to communicate it to others. … The joy we feel inspires us to do so. It should be the same when we encounter the Lord. Indeed, the concrete sign we have truly encountered Jesus is the joy we feel in communicating this to others too. This is not proselytism, but rather it is a gift: I give you what makes me joyful. [[And here’s the hermeneutic for reading Pope Francis: If it’s just to get a feather in my hat, it’s proselytism. If it’s done in joyful love for the good of the other, it’s evangelization. For Pope Francis, this is valid for the whole spectrum of Catholics, for other Christians, for Jews, for Muslims, for all others in the world.]] Reading the Gospel we see that this was also the experience of the first disciples. … Encountering Jesus is the same as encountering His love. This love transforms us and makes us able to transmit to others the strength that it gives us”. [[We are so caught up in God’s love for us all that we can’t help but share the joy of that love with all.]]

“We could say that the day of our Baptism each one of us is given another name alongside the one we receive from our mother and father, and this name is ‘Christopher’, which means ‘Christ-bearer’. The name of our approach, as bearers of Christ’s joy and mercy”, remarked the Holy Father. “The Christian is a bearer of Christ. … But the mercy we receive from the Father is not given to us as a private consolation, but rather makes us instruments to enable others to receive the same gift. There is a wonderful circularity between mercy and mission”. [[The “I’m better than you are” attitude has no place here. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have something to share. We have God Himself to share. It means that we are not before our love of God, but before God’s love of us all, and we are overwhelmed by that with overflowing joy.]]

“Living mercy [[active reception of God’s love]] makes us missionaries of mercy [[all of us!]], and being missionaries enables us increasingly to grow in God’s mercy. [[You can’t receive without giving – a bit of a paradox, but not in God’s overwhelming love]] So, let us take seriously the fact of being Christians, and let us commit ourselves to living as believers, because only in this way may the Gospel touch the people’s hearts, opening them to receive the grace of love.” [[Go out and bring people to Jesus out of love! Clear enough?]]

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