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Complete Joy

by May 14, 2024Friar Reflection

We are rapidly approaching the end of the Easter season. Each year we celebrate this season to renew our joy. Our joy as Christians has its root in the Christ’s victory over sin and death, the resurrection, and our undeserving incorporation into the resurrection. Christian joy does not come from material goods, fame, pleasure, power, possessive relationships with other people or things. Those things form the basis of our ego-centric modern culture. Jesus proclaims very clearly that complete joy comes from giving ourselves in service to others: love one another as I love you. That is how we were created. We are creatures made to serve others. Yet we constantly try to invert the equation and force others to serve us and look for our joy in things.

The experience of Easter joy permeated the life of all in the early Church. This new joy transformed their lives allowing them to start new lives and missions. They did this not because of a moral imperative or obligation, but out of a deep need to share their joy. Matthias the Apostle was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. Not much is known about Matthias, but some traditions hold that he traveled through Africa as far south to Ethiopia to share his faith. The lives of the first apostles were truly amazing and inspiring. Travels, missions, service, charity, and personal sacrifices were all signs of Christian joy in the lives of the first apostles.

It is imperative for modern day evangelization that we recuperate complete joy as the basis of our evangelization efforts and as a basis of the transmission of faith in daily family life. Too long have we focused our evangelization efforts and our family life on rules and obligations. This form of faith transmission in the family and parish and in our evangelization, programs is not attractive to folks now a days. Obviously, we cannot do away with rules, but the beauty of the resurrection is best expressed and understood by others through a life of joy and an invitation to share that joy.

Communion with the risen Christ produces complete joy. A true Christian’s soul is bursting to share that joy with all.

I have told you this so that my joy might be in you

and your joy might be complete…

love one another as I love you