The Joy of Serving the Lord

Luke 10: 17-24
Jb 42:1-3,5-6,12-17/ Ps 119

Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.
(Luke 10:20)


I asked as I knelt down to pray,
“These blessings, why do I deserve?”
I rejoiced when I heard Him say,
“Because it’s the Lord God you serve.”

The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Yet do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” At that very moment, He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.” (Luke 10:17-20).

Reflection

The solemnity of worship in our churches is in contrast with the joyful atmosphere that one finds in Protestant churches and born-again congregations. The spirit of joy only comes alive in our BCBP chapter’s worship assemblies.

As renewed Christians, we should always be joyful and grateful for all the blessings in our life. It may be our lack of gratitude for the precious gift of life that makes us take our health for granted. Remember, a sick person is a very unhappy man indeed.
The status of wealth, influence and prominence in society has never delivered true happiness. It is only in serving God and others that we will discover peace of mind and gladness of heart. Joy is the fruit as well as the fuel of faithful service. The author, Joseph Campbell, said the path of bliss lies in looking for ways that we can be of more service to those around us, giving joy both to ourselves and to those we are serving. That’s because it is really God we are serving for all the blessings He has given us. Finally, joy and gladness of heart will always be a part of our life because we have the gift of hope – for the salvation that awaits us at the end of our earthly journey. Every follower of Christ bears in his heart joy in the fact that his own name is already written in heaven. This is the reason why we cannot help but “overflow in praise of God” to men. If we talk about Him often, it is not so much because it is our duty, but because God is our delight.

The Church commemorates this day in honor of St. Therese of Lisieux, also known as “The Little Flower of Jesus”, and a patron saint of missions. She and her 3 sisters were dedicated by their devout parents to the service of God, and all became cloistered nuns in a Carmelite convent. Being the youngest, St. Therese was not deterred when the Carmelite Superior and the bishop refused to admit her as a novice because she was only fourteen years old. On a pilgrimage to Rome with her father and a chance audience with the pope, she broke protocol and begged the pope’s intercession for her vocation. Impressed by her courage and determination, the Vicar General interceded on her behalf, and soon she was accepted as a novice in the Carmelite convent with her two elder sisters. St. Therese never went on a mission, but the hundreds of prayers and letters that she wrote in support of the missionaries of the Church brought her the recognition that she had always avoided. In her humility she did not aspire to achieve great deeds, but her numerous little sacrifices inspired thousands of the faithful to imitate this “Little Flower of Jesus” on her path to holiness and sainthood. She never looked back, but plowed on in spite of her severe illness, which led to her death at the young age of 24.

Let us honor St. Therese of Lisieux by following her example when we are called to serve in our community, or simply to give witness about our conversion. Let her be our model in our struggle to be pure and faithful to God’s will. As St. Paul said in his letter to the Galatians, “Stand firm and never submit again to the yoke of slavery (sin)… Live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.” (Gal.5:1,17) Let us pray to St. Therese, that in this battle against the flesh, our spirit may be victorious.

Keep always before me, Lord, so that I may never be shaken, for in You my heart is glad, my soul rejoices, my body dwells secure. Show me the right path (Psalm 16:9-11) that I may persevere in serving You until the end of this earthly journey. Amen.

“I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoiced in great riches . . . I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word” (Psalm 119:14,16).

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