A dear friend just sent me a recent speech from Pope Francis. She meant for me to be encouraged as it encouraged her. Kudos for lovers of people who reach out to share encouragement. I’m wondering if I am in a bad mood because the content did quite the opposite. I read waiting for the punch line that never came. Am I getting preachy where nothing is good enough unless Jesus is glorified – especially from the leader of the Catholic (universal) Church?
Pope Francis is a cheerleader for joy. God was mentioned once in this piece and Jesus never. How is this leading any Church? There were platitudes about being forgiving, and thankful and for hugging our people. I missed a recommendation for whether we should hug the “others”? There was nothing about when we fail in the above (and we all do) and of the mercy of Jesus. No salvation or hope beyond being happy. There is so much in scripture about passing on our blessings to others. God sees us so we see others. The “them” are lost whether or not I hug them unless I share my hope in Jesus. Jesus is always the punch line. Does not Pope Francis know that or did someone, who does not know, help him write this very beautiful piece that left me empty?
I think this feel-good message is a distraction from the truth the Pope should be sharing. Jesus is the crucial element God’s apex. How do we answer the hardest questions without Jesus? Jesus is God’s glory and the point of the entire Old and New Testaments. Be as happy as you can but do not sin by denying the power of the gospel – a new and happier you. He is the beginning and the end of the story. How about this prescription for happiness instead…Isaiah 119:1,
Happy are the people who walk with integrity, who live according to the teachings of the Eternal. – Psalm 119:1, The Voice