“His Joy Is Our Joy” – Reflection for Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter 2020

Gospel Jn 16:20-23
Jesus said to his disciples:
“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.”

Dear brothers and sisters,
With his disappearance in his death and the blood and water, shed from his side, and triumphant reappearance in his resurrection, Jesus laid the foundations of the newborn Church (Lumen Gentium par. 3). Thus, he laid down these foundations in the early disciples. This experience in itself was the announcement and prophecy of the HISTORY, which began at that moment. The first day, the day of endless joy, inaugurated a new history. The gates of heaven were opened wide, and the experience of that day did not fade away. The origin and goal of life manifested itself. The experience of seeing the risen Lord infused joy into the disciples by revealing the destiny to which they, with all men, were called.

From that joy, the MISSION of the Apostles immediately emanated (LG par. 19). The true Passover, the first Easter, left an imprint that became the imprint left by the feet of the Apostles. Among the Apostles, St. Paul considered everything to be garbage, and all that mattered was face the sublimity of knowing Christ (Phil. 3:8). Inspired by awe and thirsting for the fullness of this knowledge, the Apostles traveled across roads of the world. They ran towards the goal that would quench their thirst. As the English writer and lay theologian, G.K. Chesterton wrote, “joy is the giant secret of the Christian.” To proclaim the Gospel is the mark of the risen Christ in the history offered to men so that, in following it, they can meet the joy prepared for them, the mercy and love revealed in Christ Jesus.

My dear brothers and sisters, we are all the JOY of CHRIST, the fruits of the pain of his crucifixion. Like a woman in childbirth, Christ “saw us again” after our sins killed him. For this, we are his joy, the blessed fruit of his love that surpasses the death of our sin. HIS joy is OUR joy because we are HIS forever: No person nor anything can tear us from his hand! Every disciple, children of the Church, has this experience inside him. Each of us was born from the birth on the cross of Christ!

In the moment of pure joy that marked the boundary between death and life, pain and gladness, and labor and birth, the life of each person has inexorably changed direction. Enveloped by this experience, the disciples embraced the DUTY to proclaim the Gospel. They knew it was a NECESSITY! Christians, in their joy, attract all humanity to the nature of Chris. Thus, the authentic proclamation of the Gospel offers the corporeal presence of the Word. As a consequence, the hope that dwells in a Christian’s heart.

Thus, Christians “no longer have to ask for anything” for themselves: they do not have to understand everything, because they already live the first fruits of the Kingdom of God. JOY exists even among fear, worry, and pain of childbirth, does not extinguish because all this is the way to the birth of a new life.

At the same time, not needing anything for themselves, hope pushes Christians with confidence. They intercede and pray for the world. Like their Master, they present each person to the Father, so that each can experience life that comes after death. Herein lies the fullness of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus. Christians pray by offering themselves, interceding for the world with suffering like the pangs of giving birth.

Therefore, their life is a particular prayer to be answered. We understand how every moment, every pain, and every failure, are precious. Every event of our life, offered to God in sacrifice with the fragrance of the sweetest incense, is the foundation and fulfillment of the Apostles’ mission. The pain of childbirth made prayer, the salvation of every man asked of the Father in the name of Christ, the certainty of being heard, compose our mission to make known that GOD IS LOVE to the world.

God bless you,
Father Mauro