Francis brings joy

By 
  • March 28, 2013

The hope and joy of Easter have been magnified this year by the first steps of a Pope who has arrived like the blossoms of an Easter-morning lily to brighten the universal Church.

Easter marks the 19th day of the papacy of Pope Francis. And what days they’ve been! Not only has he won over Catholics with his sincerity, humanity and charm, but others world-wide have been moved by the simplicity of his manner and the compassion in his message.

In mere days he has improved the mood of the Church. True, that’s not the same as implementing the substantive change that awaits him. But Francis has injected energy and optimism where, just weeks ago, there was anxiety over the resignation of Pope Benedict and foreboding about the future. His early days have been joyful.

He achieved this in the most obvious of ways, by acting Christ-like. Francis has reached out in a manner that is prayerful, humble and kind, reminding Catholics that we are an Easter people, a joyful people, who believe in the good news of the Resurrection, in spreading our joy and in caring for the weak and the vulnerable.

“Do not be men and women of sadness,” Francis said on Palm Sunday. “A Christian can never be sad.”

Francis has personified joy. It is the joy of a man not weighed down by ambition, ego or doubt
about his purpose in life. His joy is evident each time he annoys his security detail and hops off the popemobile to kiss the handicapped, comfort the elderly or embrace a child. It is reflected in his constant smile, in his ad-libbed humour and in the Don Cherryesque thumbs-up he has taken to flashing to adoring crowds.

But mostly it is evident in his message. Christian joy, says Francis, does not come from accumulating possessions. It comes from giving faithful witness to Christ’s example and His teaching, and by sharing the joyful truths we celebrate at Easter.

“Christ’s cross embraced with love does not lead to sadness, but to joy,” Francis said. “It leads to the joy of being saved.”

Francis reminds us that joyful Christians are called to serve, not be served. He calls this being a
protector. Protect the poor, the sick, the young, the old, the disabled. Protect the environment and all of God’s creation. Protect each other. And do this always with generosity, compassion and joy, says Francis.

That has been his most powerful message, the message that has fuelled the goodwill and optimism of his early days. Pope Francis has energized the Church and brought additional joy to Easter this year.

It is a joy that all of us at The Register wish for you and your family at Easter.

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