Daily Reflection for Friday, May 27, 2022
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Friday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Acts 18:9-18
Responsorial: Psalms 47:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
Gospel: John 16:20-23
Our reflection on Friday’s readings:
“But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.” John 16:22
I watched a show called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo a few years ago, and the host encouraged viewers to assess each item they had and determine whether it “sparked joy” for them. The sparking of joy, she said, was a sign to keep whatever it was. There are so many good things in life that can spark joy…a special possession, a walk in the woods, the smile of a friend, the birth of a baby. In today’s Gospel, however, Jesus seems to be talking about a special kind of joy. A joy that is more of an eternal flame than a series of sparks. A joy that Jesus says can’t be taken away, no matter what. A perfect joy.
There is an old story I love about St. Francis walking with Brother Leo in the middle of winter. Brother Leo asks St. Francis “What is perfect joy?” He replies that perfect joy is not giving a flawless example of holiness, healing the blind, converting all unbelievers, or even raising someone from the dead. Instead, he says, perfect joy would be to arrive at their destination, all drenched with rain and trembling with cold…to have the porter come out in anger, swear at them, throw them to the ground, roll them in the snow, and beat them with a knotted stick. St. Francis explains that if they could accept this with patience and joy, thinking of Jesus and bearing the sufferings out of love for him, they will have achieved perfect joy.
The apostles rejoiced when they were beaten for Christ (Acts 5:41), Jesus said to rejoice when people persecute us and say evil things about us (Matthew 5:11), and even Jesus himself endured the cross because of the joy set before him (Hebrews 12:2). But when I see so many people around me in immense pain, it’s hard for me to imagine that joy can coexist with suffering. I think I struggle so hard with this idea because it reveals something in me that I don’t like…I really hate suffering and I really love those sparks of joy. I pray that God will give me the grace to seek a more persistent joy in my life. A joy that doesn’t require a continual flow of sparks. A perfect joy that no one can take away
Grace and Peace to you,