A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Why joy?

Today, in anticipation of our Lord’s arrival at Christmas – only a few days away! – two different first readings are available: one is a song of love, the other (Zephaniah 3:14-18a) is a song of joy.

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!

But why should we feel joy?

The news is full of war and threats of terror. Political leaders scheme and bicker. Our personal finances are challenging. Our families and relationships are stressful (or non-existent). We have worries about health. Even in the Church, that special place of refuge, we find conflict and scandal.

We feel bad about ourselves and uncertain about the future.

Why should we feel joy?

The answer begins with forgiveness.

The LORD has removed the judgment against you...

Through the wonderful gift of God’s forgiveness that comes to us through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we find healing and peace in the deepest part of our being.

Thus we can have joy.

The world may fall apart around us like a house in a hurricane, but with God’s forgiveness we can always have a quiet place of contentment in our heart of hearts, for the Lord forgives us and has turned away everything that would keep us from an eternity of blessedness.

...he has turned away your enemies;

The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst,
you have no further misfortune to fear.

On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a mighty savior...

There, in that quiet place, we feel the presence of the Lord: a presence of infinite comfort and indomitable strength.

Thus we can have joy.

But there is yet another cause for joy: a reason that is humanly simply and yet theologically profound.

He will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in his love,
He will sing joyfully because of you,
as one sings at festivals.

Joy is contagious
and God rejoices because of us.

Thus we can have great joy.

Life can be hard and it can be scary, but God reaches to us so that we may open our hearts and let in his infinite love, mercy, grace, and eternally increasingly overflowing joy.

Shout for joy...!
Sing joyfully...!
Be glad and exult
with all your heart...!

Amen, come Lord Jesus!