Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote that joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God; perhaps that is why the Church sets aside two Sundays a year as Joyful Sundays. This Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent is one of them; the other is the Fourth Sunday of Lent.
Joy permeates the Sacred Scriptures as the Sunday readings proclaim: “Cry out with joy and gladness” (Isaiah); “Shout for joy, O daughter Zion” (Zephaniah); “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Paul); and “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.” (Luke)
Joy is more than pleasure, which is experienced physically. It is more than happiness, which is more cerebral. Joy is of the Spirit — it is one of the Fruits of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) Pope Francis writes, “The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus.” (EG 1)
Conversely, “whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt and the desire to do good fades.” (EG 2)
The Holy Father has said that joy is the Christian’s ID card and that a person without joy is not a true believer.
Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!
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