Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY — Jesus’ joy of being united with God and doing God’s work on earth is the same joy that the church should have as it awaits Jesus’ final coming, Pope Francis said.
Celebrating Mass Dec. 3 in the chapel of his residence, Pope Francis spoke about the vision of peace presented in Isaiah 11:1-10 and the joy and peace of Jesus described in Luke 10:21-24.
Christians are used to imagining Jesus preaching, healing, walking the roads of the Holy Land or seated with his disciples at the Last Supper, he said in remarks reported by Vatican Radio. “But we aren’t so used to thinking of Jesus smiling, joyful.”
“Jesus was full of joy, full of joy,” he said. The day’s reading from Luke’s Gospel begins: “Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.’”
The passage, the pope said, “lets us see a bit into Jesus’ soul and heart. His is a joyful heart.”
Just as Jesus gave his life out of love, he gives his joyful heart and soul as well, Pope Francis said. “And this joy is true peace. It’s not a static, quiet, tranquil peace. Christian peace is a joyful peace because our Lord is joyful.”
Jesus could not help but speak of God with joy in his voice and the church and its members must do likewise, the pope said.
“One cannot think of the church without joy and its joy is this: Proclaiming the name of Jesus and saying, ‘He is Lord. My bridegroom is the Lord. He is God. He saves us. He walks with us.’”
In her joy, the church, the bride of Jesus, becomes a mother, the pope said, giving birth to new sons and daughters of God, “transmitting this joy to the children she gives birth to and raises.”
During Advent, the time of preparation for the celebration of Christmas, the Mass readings also focus on Jesus’ promise to come again at the end of time. Pope Francis said the period of waiting for the Second Coming is the church’s “widowhood, because the church has an aspect of the widow awaiting the return of her groom. Even in her widowhood, the church is joyful in hope.”