Elizabeth’s unborn child leapt for joy in the womb when expectant Mary came visiting. Angels brought glad tidings of great joy at Jesus’ birth. Luke lets us know right from the start that his message is a joyful one. There is joy in the Gospel, and we hear about the Holy Spirit in the very first chapter. But the joy truly breaks out in book two, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Holy Spirit becomes a lead character. Joy and the Holy Spirit both figure in today’s first reading. Here is the best part: the joy doesn’t depend on what is going on around these early Christians. Trouble gets stirred up, they are being persecuted, but there is joy on the inside. Joy in experiencing the Holy Spirit leading, strengthening, guiding them. Joy in experiencing the Lord with them. Joy in knowing they are right where God wants them to be, doing the right thing for the right reason. Luke trusts that there is little reason to explain that joy. Hopefully his readers know all about it from experience. Watch for joy around you when you come to Mass next week.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016