May 22, 2020 (Friday after the Ascension)
Day 7 of Laudato Si Week— We have built a consumer society which has implications for everything as we continue to buy without care for the common good. Buy and cook only what you can reasonably consume. Keep a track of how much food you waste or refrigerate unused and later discard. Use what you have instead of ordering more. Learn to give.
No one will take your joy…
Dear friends in Christ, joy is a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. Sometimes it comes in the form of jubilation, exhilaration, exuberance etc. In joy some people shed tears, which are called, ‘tears of joy.’ Sometimes the adversary might have the upper hand, on an issue that ordinarily should have brought great excitement and joy. At such a moment the feeling of sadness might take over. Jesus however promises in todays gospel, ‘No one will take your joy from you.’
The gospel passage of today(John 16:20-23) is taken from the discourse of Jesus with his disciples before his ascension. He was not willing to give the disciples false hope. He taught them rather to expect days of sorrow. “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.” Jesus chose the experience of a pregnant mother in labour, to illustrate what the disciples’ condition. Childbirth is particularly a difficult time for many mothers, a moment of expectation, but a moment of pain and anxiety. Jesus says that just as such difficulties and pains, are endured for the joy of what is in the future, so will be the mission of the disciples and just as the pains of a mother in labour gives way for joy and happiness at the birth of a child, so also will it be with the fulfilment of the promise of new life. With faith therefore, each difficulty overcome, brings new strength and hope.
In today’s first reading (Acts 18:9-18), the Lord in a vision, confirmed and assured Paul of his support. He was given divine encouragement to continue to preach in Corinth. The Lord said to him, “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man shall attack you to harm you; for I have many people in this city.” God proved this support by the fact that, when he was falsely accused of doing something against the law, it was dismissed as quibbles about names and words and Paul was set free. The anger of those who accused Paul was then turned on the leader of the synagogue who led his accussers.
Do not be afraid too, God will raise up those who will defend you even from among those who do not know you. You have God on your side as you continue to strive to do his will. Trust in the Lord for your help and no one can take your joy from you.
Let us pray: Lord preserve me from those who do evil, save me from all their wicked deeds and desires. May I always have the cause to rejoice in your love and help. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.