The Francis Effect The Joy Of The Gospel
admin - Added on Monday, June 30, 2014

People call it "The Francis Effect." It's the joy that radiates from the man — and puts smiles on people's faces. They want to share his photo on Facebook. They want to use his quotes as a tagline in their email. They want to sit through his entire YouTube video, even though he's not speaking their language. In many cases, he's not practicing their religion either! Of the millions of people who follow the Pope on social media, many are nonbelievers.


Why do they follow him? Why do they re-tweet his message? Why do they post photos of him embracing disabled and disfigured people?


Because Pope Francis shows us the Joy of the Gospel. That’s what he titled one of his letters to us:
The Joy of the Gospel. Francis believes that joy makes the best case for Christianity. It’s the most powerful witness.


If we look like we enjoy going to Church, people will want what we have. If our faith makes us happy, we’ll be better companionsfor all our friends and family, our neighbors and our co-workers.


And the opposite is true. If all we do is complain about our Church, it’s not going to make us feel any better — and it’s not going to make ANYBODY feel positive vibes about Jesus. People won’t want a piece of our faith if our faith seems to be our main source of frustration.


Pope Francis strikes me as a guy who enjoys his Catholic faith. He loves the music, the art, the history, and the culture of Catholicism. But he knows that that’s not the whole story; and he knows it’s not even the best part of it.


I saw a great headline in a newspaper recently. It said: “If You Like Pope Francis, You’ll Love Jesus.” That sums it up. The best part of Catholicism is Jesus. He makes himself really present for us when we gather for Mass. He gives his promise of protection to our pope. Jesus has kept this Church in good working order for two thousand years now, and he shows no signs of letting it go.


JESUS makes Pope Francis joyful, and people see that. They sense that they, too, could be happy if they get what he has.


Jesus established our Church on solid rock, so that he would have a place to meet us in Word and sacrament.  You know, it’s been that way since the first generation. When Jesus named Peter as the first pope, he promised that nothing would ever prevail over the Catholic Church. And nothing has. No other institution is still in existence from the time of the Roman Empire.


The Church stands alone — not because it has better arguments. It DOES have better arguments; but arguments don’t win people’s hearts. The Church stands alone — not because it has more money, or better public relations, or any of the stuff that makes for survival in the marketplace.


The Church stands because it has Jesus — and because it has Jesus, it has joy. That’s how it’s been since the first generation.


When the Apostles went somewhere, the Bible tells us, “there was much joy in that city.” “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”


When Saint Peter showed up at someone’s house, the people there were so overjoyed they forgot to let him in the door!


That’s the effect of the Gospel, isn’t it?You can call it the Francis Effect if you want. But it’s really Jesus. And it’s the effect you and I should want to produce with our witness, our work, our kindness, and our friendship.


It’s Jesus, and it’s joy.

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