Wednesday, July 6, 2016

"...and your joy may be complete"

There are many moments that make up a day, some are significant in their magnitude, others, remarkable merely because of their simplicity. While engaging our brothers and sisters today, one very simple moment struck me as being remarkable and at the same time magnificent - merely because of its simplicity. Walking up a driveway to make contact with a homeowner I could hear Team members Brenda and Victoria speaking with a homeowner on the other side of the street. Though I was unable to understand the verbal exchange they were engaged in, I was not at a loss to recognize a sudden explosive laughter erupting from one of the Team members (Brenda) that was simply and magnificently beautiful. As I continued up the driveway, I found myself smiling, while verbally thanking God for the ability to witness such love, comfort, and joy in bringing Him to those outside the four walls of the Church.

In that brief, powerful, unrehearsed, and completely spontaneous witness to the joy of loving and trusting in God, I found myself reflecting upon EVANGELII GAUDIUM (Joy of the Gospel; paragraph 83) where Pope Francis writes, "Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the joy of evangelization!". I also couldn't help but reflect upon his introductory statement (paragraph 1) where he writes "The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew".

Throughout the remainder of the day, a day where we visited 80 homes, bringing our total to 1,502, this simple, yet extraordinary moment spoke to the promise of a life lived in Jesus Christ "…that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete" (John 15:11). In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul, who endured imprisonment, torture, abandonment, and extreme loneliness at times, tells us that "…we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us" (Romans 5:3-5). 

How can we as Christians allow ourselves to be anything but joyful in our hearts, regardless of the world around us!

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