Sustaining Our Joy

John 16: 16-20
Acts 18: 1-8 / Psa 98

I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.
(John 16:20)

This life is merely passing by,
All things corrupt time will destroy;
Our hope in the eternal lie
Where Christ will turn our tears to joy.

(Jesus said to His disciples), “In a little while you will no longer see me, and then after a little while you will see me.” Some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will no longer see me, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.” Jesus saw that they wanted to ask Him about this, so He said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.” (John 16:16-20)

Reflection

His apostles did not yet understand what our Lord Jesus was telling them; he was priming them to the inevitable fate that awaited Him, conditioning them to “losing” Him to Calvary and the two days that He would be in the tomb. They would be inconsolable with grief, but only for a short while, because His Resurrection would later bring them indescribable joy.

Life is a series of ups and downs, like mountains and valleys, with its high and low points, with moments of sadness and moments of joy. As we read in Ecclesiastes, “There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens” (Ecc.3:1). We celebrate the birth of new life, and we mourn the death of another. There is merriment in victory, and we express our lament in defeat. And more often than not, we seek what is joyful and festive, and avoid the things that may bring us unhappiness and grief. But as our Lord Jesus often tells us in the Gospel, life here on earth was never meant to be a bed of roses. There will be trials, and there will be pains. We will all pass through the valley of darkness before we hope to reach the pearly gates of heaven.

Although we no longer have the physical presence of Jesus in our midst, He did not leave us “as orphans”. He left us His Holy Spirit, Who moves within us in mysterious ways, inspiring us, giving us strength in times of crisis, peace in times of strife, and showing us how we can sustain a spirit of joy even when we are burdened by life’s troubles. Jesus wants us to have this spirit of joy, as He said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete” (Jn.15:11). We experience this joy in various ways. We find it first of all in our renewal community, where we are of “the same mind, have the same love, and being of one accord” (Phil. 2:2) with brothers and sisters in Christ. Here we have found true joy in giving ourselves in service to others, especially those who have less in life. Our joy is also sustained by propagating the Word of God, His Good News to others, especially in our workplaces. I personally enjoy writing these Gospel reflections and sending them to you by email and posting them in my web log. There is also much joy in meditating on Scriptures, and realizing the treasures that can be had in its pages, which give us a clear perspective of the essential and the Infinite, as opposed to the fleeting pleasures of this world. And finally, the Holy Spirit infuses joy in our heart every time we look up to God in praise and gratitude. It is always the grateful soul that is happiest. Praise and thank Him all our days!

“Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have worked salvation for Him… Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the LORD, for He comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.” (Psa.98:1,7,8) Amen.

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