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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Are you a joyful Christian who radiates joy? - Daily Reflections August 18, 2016

RELIGION: A JOY -KILLER?

Many Christians regard their religion as a burden. They focus on the commandments and prohibitions, on the difficulties and obligations, on the threat of hell, and the sacrifices demanded.
       Actually, they are not real Christians. Just look at how different is the image that Jesus presents! The Kingdom of God is like a wedding feast. And a wedding feast in His time was really something. It lasted for one week. There was singing and dancing, wine was flowing, and food was more than the guests could consume.
       We realize that Jesus does not see religion as a burden, a joy-killer or a cause of sacrifice and pain. Rather, it is a great joy.
        Pope Francis expressed this beautifully in his homily on May 10, 2013 when he said, “Sometimes these melancholic Christians’ faces have more in common with pickled peppers than the joy of having a beautiful life. If we keep this joy to ourselves, it will make us sick in the end, our hearts will grow old and wrinkled, and our faces will no longer transmit that great joy, only nostalgia and melancholy which is not healthy.”
       The joys of the Kingdom of God are not for a few selected people, for a small group of elitists. No, God wants a full house. Everybody is invited and welcome. But unfortunately, not all who are invited respond because many people have wrong priorities. Some invited guests did not attend because they prioritized money and livelihood, forgetting the great privilege to be invited by the King Himself.
       Even in our lives, we can be tempted not to fully respond and be attentive to the invitation. We are busy with many good things, no doubt. But being so busy can lead us at times to neglect — as Luke puts it in one of his stories — sitting at the feet of Jesus, not responding enough to the invitation to be with Him, listen to Him, and enjoy time with Him. And then religion becomes a burden and we miss the great joy Jesus wants us to be filled with. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD

REFLECTION QUESTION: Are you a joyful Christian who radiates joy?

Lord, overwhelmed by problems, I forget at times that I have more than enough reason to be filled with joy. Let me remember that there is no greater joy in this world than having You as my divine Brother. Amen.

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