Keep Your Joy!

This is the most joyous season for a Christian!

Christ has risen from the dead and has overcome death for us.  And He is still with us before His ascension into heaven.  Easter Sunday marks the beginning of the longest holiday (50 days) in the Catholic Church.  It is important to remember this but with the difficulties that we frequently encounter and the bombarment of the news media which focuses on the negative, it can be tough to remember our joy.

The meditation in today’s Word Among Us can help us to keep our joy.  The article follow below.

 

Meditation: Acts 8:1-8  

There was great joy in that city. (Acts 8:8)  

You watched your friend Stephen being stoned to death. Now persecution has broken out in your city (Acts 8:1). You might even be the next person killed for believing in Jesus. So you leave Jerusalem, but you keep preaching the gospel—and many people turn to the Lord. Despite the risks you face each day, you are still happy to see so many conversions.  

What if the early Christians had focused on their precarious situation instead of on all the good they saw happening? Instead of rejoicing, they would have become fearful and discouraged. They might have decided to abandon their newly found faith instead of continuing their mission to spread the good news.  

Most of us don’t experience the same kind of persecution that the early Christians faced. But we may still feel overwhelmed at times by what we see around us. Even if we don’t experience it directly, we hear plenty of bad news—homicides, drug overdoses, famine, abuse, and so much more. A steady diet of such news can wear us down over time and cause us to lose our joy.  

But here’s what doesn’t make the news: how the love of Jesus in the hearts of his people causes them to reach out to others in love. Think of all the men and women who dedicate their lives tending to the poor and forgotten. Think of all those who teach RCIA or work in Catholic schools or campus ministry. Think of the people who care for women who need healing after an abortion. You are probably part of this “good news” yourself!  

Don’t discount simple everyday acts of love and kindness either. Maybe you had a kind word for a coworker who rarely talks to any of her colleagues or a neighbor who keeps to himself. Maybe you kept your cool while helping your children reconcile after a fight. In situations like these, you are bearing the love of Christ and spreading his word.  

Today, choose to focus on the good news. Think of one act of love you have seen or read about recently. Then rejoice that Jesus is alive and active among his people today!  

“Heavenly Father, help me share the good news of Christ’s love to one person I encounter today.” 

Published by Word Among Us, May 8th, 2019

#KeepYourJoy

#Easter

 

 

 

Looking for More Unity in Your Life?

The readings the past several day have been very inspiring.  The writers at Word Among Us have also been inspired and one of their pieces from April 30th is presented here.

 

Mass Reading & Meditation for April 30, 2019

Acts 4:32-37

The community of believers was of one heart and mind. (Acts 4:32)

Why did the early Christians decide to share all that they had with one another? The short answer is the Holy Spirit. After Pentecost, the followers of Jesus decided to place everything in common—property, possessions, and money—so that no one would suffer from lack. Motivated by love, they wanted to make sure that personal possessions posed no stumbling blocks to their unity.

God wants us to live in unity as well—in unity with our spouses, in our families, and in our parishes. We know that this can be hard to attain, even when we earnestly desire it. It can be so easy, even if we don’t intend it, to place our needs and wants above other people’s or to see things only from our own perspective.

That’s why it’s good to ask ourselves, Where can there be more unity in my life? Maybe an estranged relationship with an adult child or a coworker comes to mind. It could be that you have a gnawing issue in your marriage. Maybe you see divisions at work or among the people in your parish.

Once you have settled on a situation, take a few moments to pray for unity. Even a simple prayer such as “Come, Holy Spirit; bring us together in unity” can make a difference. Then, quiet yourself and try to listen to what God may say to you. Maybe he’ll encourage you to be more attentive to your spouse’s concerns. He may give you a fresh perspective on a troubling relationship at work. He may even prompt you to do something to bring two parties together—over a meal or in a conversation. He is creative, so just try to be open!

We probably aren’t called to live the way the early Christians did, but we can still strive to have “one heart and mind” with one another (Acts 4:32). We will never achieve perfect unity in this life, but as we pray, the Spirit will give us a greater desire for it—and show us what we can do to help make it happen.

“Holy Spirit, show me how I can be an instrument of unity in the lives of those around me.”

Psalm 93:1-2, 5

John 3:7-15

Published by Word Among Us.

#HolySpirit

#Pentecost