Easter Joy is the Best Response

Today, throughout the world Christians will joyfully sing the hymn, This is the Day the Lord Has Made, Let Us REJOICE and Be Glad! This hymn of praise, honor, and glory to God sung on Easter Sunday should reverberate not only today but throughout our lives in joyful remembrance of what God has done for us, as recounted in Sacred Scripture: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16) The Easter Joy that Christ is Risen is what we are joyfully celebrating when we sing “This is the day the Lord has made, let us REJOICE and be glad!”

What is this Joy,’ with a capital ‘J’, that we are constantly searching for? This ‘Joy’ is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. That means that above all it’s a gift from God. Some of our greatest joyful experiences have come from unexpected gifts or surprises. The gospel gives us an idea of the joyful surprise of discovering the empty tomb.

Mary Magdalene had been there at the foot of the Cross. She had seen Jesus die. So, Mary Magdalene was not expecting an empty tomb. The surprise of the Resurrection brings her so much joy that she runs to tell Peter and John. What Peter and John saw surprised them. Or better said, what they didn’t see surprised them. The body of Jesus was gone. Imagine their surprise! They saw and believed that Jesus had risen from the dead! Their hearts were overflowing with Joy.

Joy is the best response to Easter. Who could have ever imagined that death could be conquered? That death is not the end. Just as Jesus rose from the dead, we will rise from the dead and live forever. That’s what this Easter celebration is all about. Suffering does not have the last word. Death does not have the last word. The love of God, given to us in Jesus Christ has the last word. This is our Easter Joy that should be proclaimed from the rooftops: “This is the day the Lord has made, let us REJOICE and be glad!”

Remember, this Easter Joy is a gift from God and God will never impose it upon us. So, how can we prepare our hearts to receive this great gift of JOY? Living a life of Gratitude, Prayer, and Sharing are three excellent suggestions, also known by the acronym GPS.

G – Gratitude | I heard someone say that a grateful heart silences a complaining tongue. If we’re always griping, how will the Holy Spirit fill our hearts with joy? So, if we want more joy in our lives, let’s start by being grateful. A simple way to do this is to write down one thing you’re grateful for each day. You’ll be amazed.

P – Prayer | Ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of joy. Joy is the result of our relationship with Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit is the one who makes Christ present to us.

S – Sharing | If you’re not feeling very joyful, try to bring joy into someone else’s life and you’ll be astounded at what happens in your own heart. Call someone, smile at someone, do something kind. And joy flows from that.

So, I pray that this GPS guidance of Gratitude, Prayer, and Sharing will help everyone choose Joy ~ the best response to Easter ~ so that this may be the best Easter ever!

Easter blessings and prayers,
Fr. John