Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 17
In God, Our Heart Is Filled with True Joy, an Emotion Which Fills Us with a Sense of Well-Being and Personal Contentment.
“Shout joyfully to God, all the earth, sing praise to the glory of his name” – words of praise, a song of joy to our God which we hear in today’s Responsorial Psalm. A heart filled with true joy is an emotion for which we all yearn, an emotion which fills us with a sense of well-being and personal contentment.
However, our lives are oftentimes filled with so many complexities and pressures that I am sure most of us have, at one time or another, made the comment, “There has got to be something better.”
Over the course of my lifetime, and I am sure many of you can also attest to this, we have met many people who go through the motions, so to speak, of living each day as if their daily routine were some kind of a fixed ritual, not really enjoying the life they were given.
A young man comes specifically to mind. Life had become a drudgery for him. He was married and had children, but he was not happy. Don’t get me wrong; he loved his wife and kids, but life had become a boring routine day after day – he would get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, spend time with his family, go to bed, get up, go to work, come home…and this routine would repeat itself day after day after day. I know that this story, so far, sounds like it could be any one of us.
And it could be, except for one difference. He didn’t really know God. What was missing in his life was the joy of truly loving God, a God who created him and loves him more than he could ever possibly imagine. He would go to church at times, but he got nothing out of it. It was as though his heart was not open to what God desired to share with him.
As a matter of fact, his life would oftentimes become very bitter, and he would blame anyone and everyone else for his problems – mostly due to this emptiness he was carrying inside of himself. It was like a sickness that was eating away at him, and it was even beginning to cause some difficulties at home.
His wife had asked me, awhile back, if I would reach out and try to help him. His response, “There’s nothing wrong with me.” His wife and kids could see the problem, but he couldn’t. I am not a psychologist, but both his wife and I could see that he was suffering from some form of depression, and yet he could not see it in himself.
All I could do was to reach out to him and his family with Christian love and compassion, and pray that God would one day touch his heart in such a way that he would begin to seek help. What was so lacking in his life was joy – the joy of living and the joy of loving and being loved.
Last Sunday, we had read in the Acts of the Apostles the account of when our first deacons were chosen and the Apostles “…prayed and laid hands upon them.” These were seven men as Scripture tells us who were “…filled with the Spirit and wisdom”, and were appointed to the task of ministering to the needs of the Christian communities.
Philip was one of those seven men, and, in today’s Reading, we find him proclaiming the good news about Jesus Christ to the Samaritans. Stephen, who was also one of the first seven deacons, had just been martyred, and Philip left Jerusalem due to the Christian persecution which was taking place. He made his way to the city of Samaria and there proclaimed the Word of God, and, as Scripture tells us, “There was great joy in that city” due to the miraculous works he was performing, all in the name of Jesus!
Joy is one of the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit, and it is God’s Spirit who dwells within us, who enlightens us as to His will in our lives through the whisperings of Divine inspiration, which I have discussed numerous times in previous meditations.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives to His Apostles and to each of us a promise, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth.”
The Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, this Divine Advocate and Enlightener of God’s Truth, given to us by our Heavenly Father, encourages us to have confidence in the abiding presence of the Risen Christ.
And this was the Gift which Peter and John gave to the Samaritans who opened their hearts to Jesus Christ and the Good News of the Gospel message which Philip brought to them! This Holy Spirit, this Most Special Gift from God’s Love, is who each of us received at our Baptism, and in which we were strengthened at Confirmation.
He also comes upon us in a very special way when we receive the Sacraments of Matrimony or Holy Orders, for He strengthens us with the necessary graces to live out our vocations in life. And one of the fruits of the Spirit, which helps us to live our vocation to the fullest, is joy.
I continue to pray for this young man and his family, whom I had mentioned earlier, and that he will one day be open to all the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, and will be accepting of all that our God of Love and Mercy wishes to share with him.
Our Lord says to us today, “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”
No matter how stressful or monotonous our daily lives may become, we can take great joy and comfort in the knowledge that God loves each one of us beyond human understanding and does not leave us in the midst of our sufferings!
Remember, Jesus promised us in today’s Gospel, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” And He has given us His Spirit – the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Love – to be our help and support in times of difficulty and discouragement.
May each of us, both you and I, always open our hearts to His Loving Presence in our daily lives. And may we live that joy which we receive from His Spirit, just as the Samaritans did, in knowing that God has called us to be His children, sharers in His Love – not only in this life, but for all eternity.
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Shout joyfully to God, all the earth, sing of his glorious name.” (Psalm 66:2ab)
- “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23a)
- “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth.” (John 14:16-17a)
- “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” (John 14:21)
- “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18)
- “Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)
- “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17)
- “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
- “But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly.” (1 Peter 4:13)
- “Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” (John 16:24)
Prayer for the Day
“O Divine Spirit, Spirit of Truth and of Light,
Dwell ever in my soul by Your divine grace.
May Your breath dissipate the darkness,
And in this light may good deeds be multiplied.
“O Divine Spirit, Spirit of Love and of Mercy,
Who pour the balm of trust into my heart,
Your grace confirms my soul in good,
Giving it the invincible power of constancy.
“O Divine Spirit, Spirit of Peace and of Joy,
You invigorate my thirsting heart
And pour into it the living fountain of God’s Love,
Making it intrepid for battle.
“O Divine Spirit, my soul’s most welcome Guest,
For my part, I want to remain faithful to You;
Both in days of joy and in the agony of suffering,
I want always, O Spirit of God, to live in Your Presence.
“O Divine Spirit, who pervade my whole beingSaint Maria Faustina (Diary, §1411)
And give me to know Your Divine Triune Life,
And lead me into the mystery of Your Divine Being,
Initiating me into Your Divine Essence,
Thus, united to You, I will live a life without end.”