Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Little Something Extra...Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Varieties of Joy

Today's readings are linked together by the thread of joy. Each Scripture passage presents several different varieties of joy, culminating in the last verse of the Gospel, which describes the highest joy of all.

First Reading – Isaiah 66:10-14

1. The joy of a homeland – The Jews had experienced exile, and therefore, they knew what it meant to have a home. Jerusalem was more than just their physical habitation, however; it was also their place of encounter with God, Whose dwelling was the Temple. 

2. The joy of God's motherly love – God loves us even more than a mother loves her children. He carries us, comforts us, nourishes us, and cares for us.

3. The joy of prosperity – Humans naturally enjoy the good things of this world, for they are gifts from God. 

4. The joy of God's power – God is in control. He knows us, and He has a plan for our lives. He wants us to flourish under His guidance.

Psalm 66

5. The joy of praising God – The most joyful thing we can do is praise God, Who is all-good, all-loving, all-powerful, and all-knowing. Our joy should flow out to Him in worship, which opens us up to receive even more joy, flowing back from Him. 

6. The joy of the wonderful works of God – God does great things for His people. As we study salvation history by reading the Bible, learn about the history of the Church and the lives of the saints, and reflect on our own experiences, we can see God at work, loving, building, guiding, testing, polishing, and saving His people.

7. The joy of God's response to our prayers – God always hears us, and He always responds. We may not like His response, but He never ignores us.

Second Reading – Galatians 6:14-18

8. The joy of the cross – Jesus died on the cross that we may live with Him forever in Heaven. We take joy in His cross and in our own crosses when we join them to His.

9. The joy of being a new creation – When we were baptized, we became new creatures in Christ. God's presence, His sanctifying grace, has filled into our souls. We have been made new, recreated by God's great love.

10. The joy of peace, mercy, and grace – God's peace, mercy, and grace surround us and fill our hearts when we open ourselves to Him. God is always ready to forgive our sins, sooth our fears, and draw us close to Him.

Gospel – Luke 10:1-12, 17-20

11. The joy of spreading the Gospel – We are all called to spread the Good News in word and deed. No matter what our place in the world, we can be ministers of the Kingdom of God, allowing Christ to shine through us in our love for others.

12. The joy of simplicity – The seventy-two disciplines Jesus sent out carried no money or provisions. They lived simply, focusing on Christ and the mission He gave them, without the distractions of too many possessions. They stayed where they were invited, ate what was set before them, and filled their hosts' homes with peace. 

13. The joy of the Kingdom of God – God rules. God reigns. When we live in His Kingdom, we begin to experience Heaven on earth, for we feel His healing touch and receive His uplifting grace.

14. The joy of Heaven – This is the highest joy of all, an eternity face-to-face with God, basking in His love. No wonder Jesus tells His disciplines, “...rejoice because your names are written in Heaven.” 

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