Do you ever wonder if God works in your life? I know I’m always looking for signs of Him around me. One day, I told a friend that I needed to be more Joyful in my life. My focus was distracted by misdirection that was getting me down. The words flowed from my mouth as I walked out the door at attend Mass that Friday morning. Lo and behold. God had a plan for me.
The Gospel reading at Mass was John 16:20-23.
Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.John 16:20-23
As I read the Gospel immediately before Mass began, my focus pulled to John 16:23, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.” There was much on my mind and heart that I felt I should be giving up to God at that time. Here was what I needed to hear, or so I thought.
In his homily, Father John instead picked out John 16:22 to speak on, “no one will take your joy away from you.” As soon as he pointed out verse 22, I was stunned I hadn’t noticed the word Joy, especially in light of my conversation that morning.
Father John told us that our Joy is a gift from God. Joy is different than just happiness. Joy comes from knowing God is triumphant, from knowing He is working in our lives. We have Joy even when things aren’t going well because God is always with us, working within us. Our Joy that bubbles inside is due to the Spirit of the Lord bubbling inside of us.
Our Joy cannot be taken away from us, though at times we will surrender it. It is always there for us, just as God is always there for us. It is up to us to claim our Joy and recognize that God triumphs.
Wow. What a message. It was as though God inspired Father John’s words just for me to hear. I was once again reminded that God still sends Angels to give us messages.
That day I heard loud and clear that I needed to claim my Joy and recognize God working in my life.