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Friday, October 4, 2013

Authentic Joy

"Do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”  Lk 10:20

Everyone can do something, and some can do things that produce enormous income. Professional athletes, movie stars and CEO's of large companies can earn millions of dollars a year because they have a particular skill set. Whether their accomplishments merit the money they are paid is not the issue. That they think of themselves in inflated terms is. If anyone believes that they are worth more in the eyes of God because of their abilities, they have completely misread the Gospel. The Good News is not about being successful but being faithful.

As Pope Francis recently said in an interview with La Repubblica, the biggest difficulty in the world is not the disparity of income between rich and poor, although this is a real issue for the Pope, but the unemployment of the young and the loneliness of the aging. More, too many young and old, according to the Pope, have given into despair and when the church ignores their needs, she fails to announce the Good News in good times and bad. Calling some church leaders narcissists, Pope Francis suggests their self absorption is part of the reason the church has been abandoned by the young and old. "Heads of the Church have often been narcissists, flattered and thrilled by their courtiers. The court is the leprosy of the papacy." (La Reppublica) Strong words for those in leadership positions and for all who think of their own needs first and seek the adulation of the crowds rather than living a life of witness to the Gospel.

Authentic joy is a gift of God for never losing sight of the Gospel's demand that we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty and visit the imprisoned and the sick. Unless we remain committed to those who because they cannot find work are losing hope and those who live in their own homes like prisoners in solitary confinement, we might be successful in keeping churches open but will fail to evangelize those most in need.

Today, be grateful for those whose lives of generous service continue to challenge us.

What do you think makes for authentic joy?

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