Happiness Reacts, Joy Transcends

“Rejoice always, pray constantly.” ––1 Thessalonians 5:16-17

“Rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength!” (Neh 8:10) These words are inspiring. Yet I often complain more than I rejoice. Thankfully, the Lord created us and is familiar with our limitations: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord” (Is 55:8).

We often mistakenly equate happiness with joy. Happiness, a fleeting emotion, is not the same as joy, an interior disposition. This is a challenge. But God’s grace is at work in our lives, so it’s not entirely beyond our grasp. Remember, St. Paul tells us that “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16).

Having the mind of Christ, look to Jesus for clues. “It was for this you were called, since Christ suffered for you…and left you an example, to have you follow in His footsteps” (1 Pt 2:21). This is the key to understanding joy (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2015). Jesus, although eternally beloved of the Father, was “a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Is 53:3 RSV-CE). His obedience made His joy complete (see Jn 15:11; 17:13).

Think about the crucifixion. Jesus was not “happy” anticipating the cross. But emotions did not conquer His fidelity in the Garden of Gethsemane: “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup from Me; yet not My will but Yours be done” (Lk 22:42).

Follow Jesus, our obedient and joyful Saviour.

PRAYER: Father, turn me from following unreliable emotions to a joy rooted in You.

PROMISE: “My spirit finds joy in God my Saviour.” ––Lk 1:47

PRAISE: “O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, You govern all creation with Your strong yet tender care.”

(From a reflection by a member of the editorial team of the late Fr Al Lauer’s Presentation Ministries) For the full Readings in English and Maltese and other reflections please go to: https:thewordonsunday.blogspot.com or visit our Facebook page / The Word on Sunday

John Portelli

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