This scripture is part of the parable of The Vine and the Branches. I want to focus on the concept of joy. Joy and happiness are not the same. Happiness is a fleeting feeling. It cannot last and is often short-lived. Joy, however, is a gift of God, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  We can be joyful even in the midst of trials and stress. During my convalescence from surgery, even in pain I was blessed to have joy. I felt the love of God; I felt it through your prayers, Mass cards, calls and visits. YOU were Christ to me and I felt Him wrap me in His arms as I slowly recuperated. I am talking about the joy of the Lord.

Joy is the result of our relationship with God. Christ felt that joy throughout His life. The only moment that it seemed to be missing was that moment on the cross when He felt the weight of our sins upon Him and cried out: “My God, My God! Why have you abandoned me?”
I have heard that Gandhi was quite taken by Christianity, but could not accept it. “If Christians truly believed what is preached in their faith, then why are they so sober and lacking in joy?”

Think of how you feel on Christmas, or on Easter Sunday as you enter the Church and see the decorations. Surely your heart rate increases a bit, you smile a little more. There is something very special at that time. That is the joy we should have every moment of our Christian life.

When my grandchildren come to my home, they run to Pat and me, arms opened and give us a big hug. “I love you and missed you, Grandpa!” they shout. My heart fills with joy. That is how the fruit of the spirit is when we recognize how close Christ is to us. He is within us and we are in Him. Christ told His disciples, “You will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.(John 14)

In this world that is falling apart right before our eyes, let us remember that Christ has conquered the Evil One and that nothing can happen that He will not turn to good. God loves us and wants to bring us into full communion with Him. Let us then celebrate His love- and show the world the Joy that is within us.

‘If you have Jesus in your heart, please notify your face!’


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