Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter
(Acts 15:7-21; John 15:9-11)
Humans today, as in any age, desire pleasure. They crave the satisfaction of their senses from sex, food, or drugs. Pleasure is not necessarily bad, but there is something much better. Joy brings more beneficial satisfaction. Pleasure is an agreeable sensation which passes quickly and must be renewed. Joy, which comes from having done something well, fills the soul for a long time. Pleasure is opposed to pain; they cannot coexist at the same time. Joy is often accompanied by suffering in the quest to do something well. Parents may take some pleasure in the vacation in Honolulu which their children gave them for their anniversary. But they will feel joy after raising their children to be loving, honest, and hardworking human beings. In today’s gospel Jesus teaches his disciples how to find joy.
He says that joy is the fruit of love. When the disciples love one another like he has loved them, their spirits will be filled with joy. When they lend a helping hand in time of need or a shoulder to cry on in distress, they will feel the joy of love. All of God’s commandments are oriented to bring joy to those who keep them.
As we grow older, we should come to the realization that joy is what makes life worth living. Experience teaches that more than forever eating tasty foods or exploring picturesque beaches, we become truly satisfied when we have given of ourselves in loving others.