Working a booth at a Catholic conference is always an interesting experience. The extraverted side of me enjoys getting to know people from around the country who are in various forms of ministry. I meet people who are proclaiming the Gospel daily in creative, life-changing ways. Many people I meet at these conferences exude joy and goodness in such a way that through their very being and living they draw people to the source of their joy. Often, at the end of the day, I am energized because of my interactions with these evangelizers.
Many people in ministry seem to glow with the â€œjoy of the Gospelâ€ that Pope Francis challenges us to live out as evangelizers in his recent apostolic exhortation. But I am always surprised, standing at a conference booth, at how often I run into people in ministry who look like, â€œsomeone who has just come back from a funeralâ€ (Evangelii Gaudium, #10).Â Running into both types of people gives me reason to reflect on what I am bringing to others around me through my ministry and day-to-day living.
Reading Pope Francisâ€™s apostolic exhortation last week fueled this reflection further. I paused frequently, as I savored his words, to ask myself, â€œHow am I proclaiming the joy of the Gospel on a daily basis?â€ I invite all of us to pause and reflect on these questions:
- What type of person am I? One who looks like I came back from a funeral? Or one whose life glows with fervor because I received the joy of Christ?
- How is God inviting me to return to the source of my joy?
- How am I nurturing the source of my joy, my relationship with Jesus?
- Am I living my day-to-day life in a way that allows the goodness of the Gospel to spread to others?
As we reflect on these questions, let us keep in mind that a sure sign that the Gospel is being proclaimed and bearing fruit is if joy is present (Evangelii Gaudium, #21). May all of our ministry be full of the joy of the Gospel that is rooted in our own personal encounters with Jesus!