“He said he was an agnostic or an atheist, I’m not sure, but he criticized Christians, and said this, ‘But those people – the Christians – say they have a redeemer. I will believe it, I will believe in the redeemer when they have the look of the redeemed, joyful for being redeemed.’ But if you have the face of one at a wake, how can they believe that you are redeemed? That your sins have been forgiven? This is the first point, the first message of today’s liturgy: You are forgiven, each one of us is forgiven.”
Being joyful because the Lord “walks with us,” Francis said, is the second aspect, noting this has been clear since He called Abraham.
In the midst of our daily lives–including our trials, difficulties, and joys–the Pope said we should take time to speak with Him Who is “by our side.”
True joy’s third aspect, the Holy Father explained, involves not allowing ourselves to be dispaired over that which does not go our way.
“That pessimism is not Christian. It is rooted in not knowing that one is forgiven, rooted in never feeling the caresses of God. And the Gospel, we could say, makes us see this joy: ‘Joyful Mary rose up and went in haste…’ Joy brings us in haste, always, because the grace of the Holy Spirit does not recognize slowness, it doesn’t recognize it… The Holy Spirit always goes in haste, always pushes us: going forward, forward, forward, like the wind in the sails, on the boat.”
Francis then recalled the joy that made the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leap when she welcomed Mary.
“This is the joy that the Church tells us about: please, we are joyful Christians, we make every effort to show that we believe we are redeemed, that the Lord has forgiven us everything, and if we sometimes slip up, He will also forgive us, because He is the God of forgiveness; that the Lord is in the midst of us; and that we will not allow ourselves to throw up our arms in despair. This is the message for today: ‘Rise up!’ This is the call of Jesus to the sick: ‘Rise up, cry out with joy, rejoice, be glad and exult with all your heart!’”