30 Jun How to Read the Daily News
by Pope Francis
I am convinced that we have to break the vicious cycle of anxiety and stem the spiral of fear resulting from a constant focus on “bad news” (wars, terrorism, scandals, and all sorts of human failure).
This has nothing to do with ignoring the tragedy of human suffering, nor is it about a naïve optimism blind to the scandal of evil.
Rather I propose that all of us work at overcoming that feeling of growing discontent and resignation that can at times generate apathy, fear, or the idea that evil has no limits.
Moreover, with a communications industry which thinks that good news does not sell, and where the tragedy of human suffering and the mystery of evil easily turn into entertainment, there is always the temptation that our consciences can be dulled or slip into pessimism.
Life is not simply a bare succession of events, but a history, a story waiting to be told through the choice of an interpretative lens that can select and gather the most relevant data.
In and of itself, reality has no one clear meaning. Everything depends on the way we look at things, on the lens we use to view them. If we change that lens, reality itself appears different.
So how can we begin to “read” reality through the right lens?
For us Christians, that lens can only be the Good News, beginning with the Good News par excellence: the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God. With these words, St. Mark opens his Gospel not by relating “good news” about Jesus, but rather the Good News that is Jesus himself.
This good news—Jesus himself—is good, not because it has nothing to do with suffering, but rather because suffering itself becomes part of a bigger picture.
It is seen as an integral part of Jesus’ love for the Father and for all mankind. In Christ, God has shown his solidarity with every human situation. He has told us that we are not alone, for we have a Father who is constantly mindful of his children.
Fear not, for I am with you (Is 43:5): these are the comforting words of a God who is immersed in the history of his people.
In his beloved Son, this divine promise—I am with you—embraces all our weakness, even to dying our death.
In Christ, even darkness and death become a point of encounter with Light and Life. Hope is born, a hope accessible to everyone, at the very crossroads where life meets the bitterness of failure.
That hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts (cf. Rom 5:5) and makes new life blossom, like a shoot that springs up from the fallen seed.
Seen in this light, every new tragedy that occurs in the world’s history can also become a setting for good news, inasmuch as love can find a way to draw near and to raise up sympathetic hearts, resolute faces, and hands ready to build anew.
In the immense dignity of the Paschal mystery, in the paradoxical beauty of new life in Christ, hardship and the cross do not obstruct, but bring about God’s salvation: weakness proves stronger than any human power, and failure can be the prelude to the fulfillment of all things in love.
The Kingdom of God is already present in our midst, like a seed that is easily overlooked yet silently takes root. Those to whom the Holy Spirit grants keen vision can see it blossoming. They do not let themselves be robbed of the joy of the Kingdom by the weeds that spring up all about.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can be witnesses and communicators of a new and redeemed humanity.
Confidence in the seed of God’s Kingdom and in the mystery of Easter should also shape the way we communicate. It is possible to recognize and highlight the good news present in every story and in the face of each person.
Those who, in faith, entrust themselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit come to realize how God is present and at work in every moment of our lives and history, patiently bringing to pass a history of salvation.
Hope is the thread with which this sacred history is woven, and its weaver is none other than the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
Hope is the humblest of virtues, for it remains hidden in the recesses of life; yet it is like the yeast that leavens all the dough.
We nurture it by reading ever anew the Gospel, “reprinted” in so many editions in the lives of the saints who became icons of God’s love in this world.
Today, too, the Spirit continues to sow in us a desire for the Kingdom, thanks to all those who, drawing inspiration from the Good News amid the dramatic events of our time, shine like beacons in the darkness of this world shedding light along the way and opening ever new paths of confidence and hope.
Excerpted from the Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the 51st World Communications Day, January 24, 2017.