The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew.
In this Exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come. The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor.
God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. The books of the Old Testament predicted that the joy of salvation would abound in messianic times. Shout aloud and sing for joy!
Perhaps the most exciting invitation is that of the prophet Zephaniah, who presents God with his people in the midst of a celebration overflowing with the joy of salvation. What tender paternal love echoes in these words! The Gospel, radiant with the glory of Christ’s cross, constantly invites us to rejoice. There are Christians whose lives seem like Lent without Easter.