The Path of Life

The Path of Life

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Pondering the Word (No. 4)

God desires our joy and completeness--becoming our true selves as created in God's image. "I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete," Jesus says (John 15:11). Here, he speaks not of passing, superficial joy as we often interpret it (such as getting a new electronic device for Christmas), but of deep, lasting, life-giving joy (such as holding a newborn son or daughter in one's arms).

God wants us to dwell constantly in that deep, lasting, life-giving love with which he gazes on us as children. And it is through this love we have first received from God that we are able to desire, produce, or accomplish anything good. In today's Gospel reading at Mass (John 15:1-8), Jesus says, "Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing."

Let us take some time today to ask ourselves a few questions: Do I trust Jesus, who promises, "I am with you always" (Matthew 28:20) ? What is the source of my joy? Can I identify specific instances in my life when this joy springing from God's loving presence has manifested itself? How do I abide in this life-giving joy each day? What fruit is it producing in and through me? Am I willing to accept God's gift of deep, lasting, life-giving joy--to become part of its rich harvest of spiritual fruit from which the world may drink?

The hope of heaven

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

"See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away."

And the one who was seated on the throne said, "See, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." Then he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children."
Revelation 21:1-7