MT 13: 44-52

For thirty years, Sr. Marie, an old nun, prepared the altar for the prayers of her community; she opened the chapel, lit the candles, arranged the flowers, changed the altar cloths, and placed the song books and the Missals – 8 times each day. When asked whether this routine bored her, the nun said “No.” She explained that each time she entered the chapel, she whispered to herself: I am so full of joy to serve the Lord and my sisters in the community.”

Who can escape the joy of the Gospel for today? The Lord Jesus tells the story of a man who found a hidden treasure. And of the merchant who found the pearls of unparalleled beauty. And of the unexpected catch of fish by weary fishermen. Wow, what an overflowing gladness these people felt at such a surprise find, an unexpected discovery!

The Lord Jesus seems to tell us that if we seek out the Kingdom of God, we do not just find it; instead, the Kingdom find us. We do not possess the Kingdom; the Kingdom possesses and embraces and draws us into itself first. This is what happens when we welcome the Kingdom with joy and simplicity of heart.

This is the way of the Kingdom, the path of joy. Joy does not mean constant laughter, continuous giggles, and all smiles. There are many trials, and we may recall Jesus’ call to carry our cross. We also experience the monotony and boredom of repeated actions of service to family, friends, community and work. The life of a Christian, a call to joy, can also be routinary and very common to the point that we lose track of its joy.

And when we have fallen into sin, when we get derailed by sickness and misfortune, when problems and troubles arise in relationships, when our prayers become dry and seemingly ineffective, the biggest temptation is to lose the gladness of heart with which we initially welcomed the Gospel.

As you follow the Lord in your work, your studies, your community, or your domestic life, do you still feel the joy of being a child of God? Do you still have the excitement to give of yourself, the energy to keep loving, forgiving and understanding others, as well as also caring for yourself? Our relationship with Jesus is our hidden treasure, our pearl of great price, our abundant catch of fish! Ask for the grace to be able to say each day: I am full of joy to serve the Lord and my brothers and sisters!

Ourparishpriest 2023