ETERNAL JOY: A HOMILY ON WEDNESDAY, THIRD WEEK OF EASTER
There is something very admirable about the early church. It is the fact that in the midst of persecutions, they remained steadfast. Usually, when there is a threat to your life, you will run away to protect yourself. But this is not what the apostles did in the reading today. Even though they mourned the death of Stephen, one thing that stands out in them is the fact that no matter what happened, they never lost their joy. They had problems both within and without, but there is this joy which is supernatural. It is the work of the Holy Spirit. Let us invite the Holy Spirit who will fill us with Christian joy, eternal joy.
Heaven is a place of joy and if we are heavenly people, then we should be people of joy. People should see that we are satisfied and wonder what has satisfied us. But when we are needy and grumpy and always sorrowful, it questions our real Christian identity. Being joyful is not about getting excited in a wishy-washy way. It is not the excitement we get from a good music, a good food, alcohol, sex, etc. Those ones leave us more hungry than we were before we got them. It is that which comes from the bread of life. Jesus tells us that those who eat this bread will never be hungry. This satisfaction does not come from a thing, but from a person. It comes from Jesus Himself by the power of the Holy Spirit. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is joy. A person who is full of the Holy Spirit will be joyful. Eternal life is not just about the length of the time. It is also about the quality of the life. It is not only about eternal length of time, but also about the eternal joy of that life. So, we can say that eternal life is eternal joy. This joy is eternal because no amount of problems in the world can take it away. Whatever God has given to you, only God can tae it away. But whatever you give to yourself or the world has given you, can be lost just as it came. Whatever comes with the wind, goes with the wind as well.
Sometimes, we Christians are the reason why people leave the church and the reason why new converts are not made. If you look at advertisements for products, you will see that those who claim to use the products will be smiling or laughing and looking very happy and joyful. If they looked sad, nobody will be encouraged to buy the product. We are the face of Christianity to the world and it is we who will tell the world that there is life in Christ. It is Catholics who will tell the world that there is something about the Eucharist. If you have recieved this bread and you are still unsatisfied, then why should anybody be encouraged to recieve it? If you attend the Holy Mass and you are still as misserable as the rest of the world, why should your children want to attend it? If you have received the Holy Spirit and you have no Christian joy, then what is so speacial about the Holy Spirit? The early Christians were able to convert so many people because in spite of all the toubles they faced, there is this joy which nobody can explain. Cry out with joy to God all the earth.