Christian Joy

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Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter

John 15:9-11

Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.”


Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, may I remain in your love and keep your commandments always. Open my heart and pour your love into me. Help me find my true joy in the loving gaze of my Father and my obedient response to his love. 


Encountering Christ:


  1. Trinitarian Love: God’s love is Trinitarian. We receive and experience the Father’s love through Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told his disciples: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him” (John 14:23). The indwelling that comes to live within us is the Holy Spirit. By receiving the love of God, we experience the life of the Holy Trinity within us. How amazing and empowering! Through the sacraments and our obedience to God’s commandments, we have the love of God within us, motivating us, allowing us to shower his love on everyone we encounter. Our relationship with the Holy Trinity is what enables us to keep his commandments and uphold the new and everlasting covenant that God the Father established through Christ his Son.
  2. Obedience to Love: Jesus tells us clearly that we remain in this Trinitarian love when we keep his commandments. Christ gave his answer to the greatest commandments by unifying the Ten Commandments and perfecting them with love: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40). When we strive to love God above all things and love our neighbor as ourselves, we keep the whole of the teachings of the Old Testament: the law and the prophets. The new law is the law of love, and we are called to be obedient to love. When our love is active, it bears the fruits of love. When we offer works of charity and mercy, we love “not in word or speech but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18). When we go to the sacrament of reconciliation, we show our love for God because we repent from the things that separate us from Christ and affirm our desire to be obedient to God’s commandments and remain in his love.
  3. Christ’s Joy: Earlier in the Last Supper Discourses, Jesus gave the disciples his peace (John 14:27). In this reading, Jesus gifted them with his joy, so that their joy “might be complete.” The true gift of obedience is Christ’s joy. When we receive the love of God and remain in it by keeping God’s commandments to love him and others, we experience joy. Jesus completes our joy because he “is the goal of human history, the focal point of the longings of history and of civilization, the center of the human race, the joy of every heart, and the answer to all its yearnings” (Gaudium et Spes 45). St. Paul VI wrote about joyful exchange of the Father and the Son: “Here there is an uncommunicable relationship of love which is identified with his existence as the Son and which is the secret of the life of the Trinity: the Father is seen here as the one, who gives himself to the Son, without reserve and without ceasing, in a burst of joyful generosity, and the Son is seen as he who gives himself in the same way to the Father, in a burst of joyful gratitude, in the Holy Spirit” (Gaudete in Domino, part III). This joyful burst of generosity and gratitude overflows to us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Mysteriously, we share and experience God’s joy in this way.


Conversing with Christ: My Jesus, the world sees joy so differently than you set out for us here in your word. Your joy wells up from a loving relationship with you and as a consequence of childlike obedience to your will. Help me always seek my joy in you and not look for it in the temporal things of this world. May I always rejoice in your word and submit to your holy will. May I rejoice in you always (Philippians 4:4).


Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will keep your commandments and imitate you by offering a work of mercy with a “burst of joyful generosity.”

For Further Reflection: Read St. Paul VI’s apostolic exhortation on Christian joy: Gaudete in Domino. Or, listen to this interview on joy with Father Hugh Barbour on Catholic Answers.

Written by Carey Boyzuck.

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