The Cause of Our Joy

John 16: 20-23
Acts 18: 9-18 / Ps 47: 2-7

So you are in anguish now. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.
(John 16:22)

If parting is such sweet sorrow,
Should I dwell in anguish and pain?
No, for I know in the morrow
I shall meet my Savior again.

Jesus said, “Amen, Amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the pain because of the joy of having brought a child into the world. So you are in anguish now. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name, He will give it to you.” (John 16: 20-23)

Reflection

What is this joy that nothing in this world can take away from us? Primarily, it is the hope of an eternal reward that awaits us in the kingdom of heaven, as Jesus continually assures us in the Gospel. But at the same time, it is also the joy (a fruit of the Holy Spirit) of being involved in a ministry that one has chosen to serve the Lord.

With all the problems and anxieties besetting us in our daily business of living or surviving, giving our extra time, effort and resources to serve in our church or community as well would be considered a burden if not for this grace of joy from the Holy Spirit. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me… For my yoke is easy, and my burden light” (Mt.11:28-30). These words of Jesus sustain and invigorate our spirit, and we discover that we are happiest when we are in His service.

The skeptics among us might argue that the dire conditions prevailing in the world today do not give us much reason to be joyful. Global warming, high cost of energy, food crisis, war and rebellion, immorality, crime and corruption are all signs of an apocalypse coming, and certainly not something to be happy about. Yes, that is the sad reality facing us today, but allowing these circumstances that are beyond our control to affect our inner joy would only make our lives more miserable, and may even stifle positive action. We can still make a difference in our small area of influence, in the office, at home, and in our civic, religious, or social groups. As Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth … You are the light of the world” (Mt. 5:13,14). The good example that we project in our upright lives, and the Gospel values that we share with others can have a ripple effect extending beyond our borders. And if we are still anxious about our own needs, let us take comfort (and joy) in the last sentence of today’s Gospel: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name, He will give it to you.” If we have faith in Him, no doubt Jesus will fulfill this promise.

Father God, keep me focused in following Your will; may the problems of day to day living not distract me from pursuing my goal – to serve my Lord Jesus, and walk in His ways. Amen.

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