At first I thought my experience of joy this Lent was a result of a personal, spiritual break through and my family’s celebration of the birth of a new grandchild. Then, in the last few days, I have seen blogs with titles such as ” My Joyful Lent”. I sense that rather than the typical, melancholy Lent where people try to experience some small piece of Christ’s suffering, joy has exploded in the Church . It has been an example of the unity that is in the Body of Christ.
Of course Pope Francis’s example of a joyful life lives in simplicity is at the core of this revolution. On Palm Sunday. Pope Francis confirmed my experience of a joyful Lent this year when he said,
“And this is the first word that I want to tell you: ‘Joy!’ Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement! Ours is not a joy that comes from having many possessions, but it comes from having encountered a Person, Jesus, who is among us.”Pope Francis (Palm Sunday Homily)
As a rule, the Catholic Church focuses more on the cross than the Resurrection but as St. Paul reminds us, the cross has no meaning without the Resurrection. Contemplating Christ’s suffering must always be seen in the light of the sheer joy that came when Jesusvanquished sin and death. It is almost incomprehensible that the Almighty God of the Universe took our sins upon Himself and died under the full weight of them.
The Resurrection was a miracle that ushers us straight to the heart of God. Let us rejoice and be glad for “the joy of the Lord is our strength” (Neh.8: 10). Jesus’s joy isour joy, a gift that I cannot refuse, even as I walk through His passion and death