No days off in the journey and joy of the Christian life

Journeying with the Joy of the Gospel is a wonderful compact series of daily reflections for Lent and Holy Week written by Fr Kevin O’Gorman SMA.

These daily reflections are inspired by Pope Francis’ Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel. Each day’s reflection begins with a quotation from the Joy of the Gospel and then Fr O’Gorman teases this out, addressing one of five major themes:

  • Evangelization – announcing the Gospel in new ways, ‘ever ancient, ever new’ [St Augustine];
  • The Church and the People of God as agents of evangelization;
  • Issues of personal integrity for evangelizers and pastoral workers;
  • The Social dimension of evangelization;
  • The Spirituality which underpins the work of evangelizing and the evangelizer.

The reflection for the day after Ash Wednesday is as follows:

I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day [paragraph 3]

After the ashes of Ash Wednesday have been wiped away we are reminded that the Cross is not a symbol worn for one day in the year but a daily standard that Jesus sets for his disciples: ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me’ [Luke 9:23].

While self-denial and carrying one’s cross constitute the cost of discipleship the call at the heart of today’s Gospel issued by Jesus is to be[come] ‘my followers’ and ‘follow me’. Through companionship with Jesus in his journey to Jerusalem his followers will come to the joy of Easter.

While the invitation of Pope Francis to ‘a renewed personal encounter with Jesus’ has a special intensity in Lent it is intended to include every day of the Church’s year. There are no days off in the journey and joy of the Christian life.

Published by St Paul’s this beautiful book is well worth making use of throughout Lent as you make your personal journey through the Gospel towards the Joy of Easter. It is available from St Paul’s Book Centre in Athlone and can be ordered online through their UK Book Store.