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Pope Francis: Challenges from urban cultures


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Day 25: "Pope for the Day" series on the "Gospel of Joy." Is it possible to live by the Gospel in the heart of today's city?

Day 25: "Pope for the Day" series on the "Gospel of Joy." Is it possible to live by the Gospel in the heart of today's city?

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  • 1. Pope Francis: Challenges from urban cultures From The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii gaudium) nn. 71-73,by Pope Francis
  • 2. 71. The new Jerusalem, the holy city (cf. Rev 21:2-4), is the goal towards which all of humanity is moving. It is curious that God’s revelation tells us that the fullness of humanity and of history is realized in a city. “The Heavenly Jerusalem,” Church of Jesus, the Divine Master, Rome PDDM
  • 3. We need to look at our cities with a contemplative gaze, a gaze of faith which sees God dwelling in their homes, in their streets and squares. God’s presence accompanies the sincere efforts of individuals and groups to find encouragement and meaning in their lives. He dwells among them, fostering solidarity, fraternity, and the desire for goodness, truth and justice. This presence must not be contrived but found, uncovered. God does not hide himself from those who seek him with a sincere heart, even though they do so tentatively, in a vague and haphazard manner. James Shaules/
  • 4. 72. In cities, as opposed to the countryside, the religious dimension of life is expressed by different lifestyles, daily rhythms linked to places and
  • 5. In their daily lives people must often struggle for survival and this struggle contains within it a profound understanding of life which often includes a deep religious sense. We must examine this more closely in order to enter into a dialogue like that of our Lord and the Samaritan woman at the well where she sought to quench her thirst (cf. Jn 4:1-15).
  • 6. 73. New cultures are constantly being born in these vast new expanses where Christians are no longer the customary interpreters or generators of meaning. Jonathan McIntosh/ Instead, they themselves take from these cultures new languages, symbols, messages and paradigms which propose new approaches to life, approaches often in contrast with the Gospel of Jesus. A completely new cul-ture has come to life and continues to grow in the cities.
  • 7. The Synod noted that today the changes taking place in these great spaces and the culture which they create are a privileged locus of the new evangelization. This challenges us to imagine innovative spaces and possibilities for prayer and communion which are more attractive and meaningful for city dwellers. Through the influence of the media, rural areas are being affected by the same cultural changes, which are significantly altering their way of life as well.
  • 8. For reflection & prayer Concretely, how have I learned a new language from the media, with their “new messages and paradigms” for my life? Do these always reflect the values of Jesus’ Gospel (cf. n. 73) and help me to live as his disciple and friend? In the daily struggle that this entails, how can my media consumption help me develop a more meaningful prayer life and a more intimate communion with God and with others? God of surprises, open my eyes to discover you in the city where I live, or in the cities I come to know through the media. Bless me with your guidance, with perseverance, and with joy.