"Man cannot live without joy; therefore when he is deprived of true spiritual joys it is necessary that he become addicted to carnal pleasures." - Saint Thomas Aquinas
Gospel text (Jn 15,9-11): Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.
“I have told you this so that
my joy might be in you and
your joy might be complete.”
Jesus offers us His complete joy. The question is: do we really want Jesus' type of joy, that is, "complete joy," or would we rather have a cheap, temporary joy?
Jesus promises us we can have His joy, the joy of God enthroned in heaven. We receive this joy by keeping God's commandments as Jesus kept the Father's commandments (Jn 15:10).
This may come as a surprise to many because we think joy depends on doing our own thing rather than God's thing. However, let the facts speak for themselves. Possibly never before has a culture been so preoccupied with feeling good, pleasure-seeking, and selfish pursuits. Yet we are very discontent. Alienated youth, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, violence, and apathy are telltale signs something's very wrong. We've tried to gain our lives but, just as Jesus said, we've lost them (Lk 9:24).
If we refuse to learn by believing, maybe we can learn by failing. Let's try God's way, the way of self-denial (Lk 9:23), the way of the cross. Jesus' way is the only way to happiness, contentment, and joy. Jesus is the Way (Jn 14:6). Sin and disobedience rob us of our joy. Repentance and obedience restore it.
Rejoice in the Lord! (Phil 4:4)