In Pope Francis’ first apostolic exhortation, "The Joy of the Gospel", he invites all Christians everywhere to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ. At the heart of his invitation is for each of us to embrace Christ's call to spread the news of the Gospel through evangelization and missionary discipleship. Becoming a missionary disciple means we live and share our faith through our words and actions. This starts with the joy of a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Jesus gives us a concrete way in our scriptures to encounter the risen Lord and evangelize the joy of the risen Christ with others through the death, resurrection, repentance, and forgiveness of Christ.
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations.”
Our repentance and conversion reorientate us toward God who forgives and fills us with new life in Christ. This risen life within us empowers us to witness God's forgiveness. Jesus was made known in the breaking of the bread and in repentance and forgiveness. Forgiving another might not erase the hurt, but it does free us to live with compassion and joy - blessings of risen life. This is risen life: "You are forgiven." This is our witness to the resurrection: "I forgive you." Forgiving others means we are not controlled by their hurtful actions which can lead to resentment, anger, hate – leaving little room for the risen Lord to take hold. If we are attached to anger, how are we to be consumed by God's Love. Emmett I. Aldrich suggests the following strategies to forgiveness in his article, Ten Keys to Forgiveness - a Christian perspective. They are listed as: 1) Let Go of the Anger, 2) Don’t be Stubborn, 3) Stop Thinking of yourself as a Victim, 4) Focus on the Future, 5) Re- Learn to Trust, 6) Be Reasonable in your expectations of Others, 7) Expect that it will take time to Forgive, 8) Examine your Heart, 9) Let Forgiveness become an Everyday Practice, and 10) Ask God for Guidance. How have you experienced the new life of the resurrection through repentance and forgiveness? Risen life within us empowers a way of living that witnesses God's forgiveness and the joy of a relationship with
Christ is Risen! Alleluia, Alleluia!