Pope Francis, at morning Mass today, told the gathered faithful that Christian joy is something more than just fun and that it is not something we can keep 'bottled up' for ourselves.
In his homily in the Santa Maria residence chapel, the Pope said "A Christian is a man or woman of joy. Jesus teaches us this, the Church teaches us this, in a special way in this liturgical time."
He then went on to describe this joy stating "What is this joy? Is it having fun? No, it is not the same. Fun is good, eh? Having fun is good. But joy is more, it is something else. It is something that does not come from short term economic reasons, from momentary reasons; it is something deeper. It is a gift. Fun, if we want to have fun all the time, in the end becomes shallow, superficial, and also leads us to that state where we lack Christian wisdom, it makes us a little bit stupid, naive, no?"
He continued "Everything is fun....no. Joy is another thing. Joy is a gift from God. It fills us from within. It is like an anointing of the Spirit. And this joy is the certainty that Jesus is with us and with the Father." The Pope suggested that a "man of joy....is a confident man."
Pope Francis did, however, warn that this joy should not be bottled up because "it will make us sick in the end, our hearts will grow old and wrinkled and our faces will no longer transmit that great joy, only nostalgia, melancholy which is not healthy. Sometimes these melancholy Christians faces have more in common with pickled peppers than the joy of having a beautiful life." He continued: "Joy is a pilgrim virtue. It is a gift that walks, walks on the path of life, that walks with Jesus: preaching, proclaiming Jesus, proclaiming joy....it is a virtue of the Great....who rise above the little things in life, above human pettiness, of those who will not allow themselves to be dragged into those little things within the community, within the Church: they always look to the horizon."
The Pope has once again called on the people of this world to look inward, to test ourselves in our daily living. Do we get embroiled in human pettiness? Do we let the little things get to us? Are we looking beyond to the bigger and better world, that great joy that awaits us on the horizon?