The way of Joy

According to Pope Francis, when the first Christians began sharing the Gospel with “the Greeks,” and not just other Jews, it was something completely new and made some of the Apostles “a bit nervous.” They sent Barnabas to Antioch to check on the situation, a kind of “apostolic visitation”.

“With a bit of a sense of humor, we can say this was the theological beginning of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” he said. Barnabas saw that the church was growing. The church was becoming “the mother of more and more children,” a mother that not only generates sons and daughters, but gives them faith and an identity.

Christian identity is not a bureaucratic status, it is “belonging to the Church, the mother Church, because it is not possible to find Jesus outside the Church,” Pope Francis said, before adding that when Barnabas witnessed the crowds of new believers he rejoiced with “the joy of an evangeliser.”

The growth of the Church, the Pope explained, “begins with persecution, a great sadness, and ends with joy. This is how the Church moves forward, as one saint, I don’t recall which right now, said, between the persecution of the world and the consolation of the Lord. The life of the Church is this way.”

-from Mass for St. George's Day

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