Another quotation from Benedict XVI’s Beatification Homily for Blessed John Paul II:
Today’s second reading also speaks to us of faith. Saint Peter himself, filled with spiritual enthusiasm, points out to the newly-baptized the reason for their hope and their joy. I like to think how in this passage, at the beginning of his First Letter, Peter does not use language of exhortation; instead, he states a fact. He writes: “you rejoice”, and he adds: “you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet1:6, 8-9). All these verbs are in the indicative, because a new reality has come about in Christ’s resurrection, a reality to which faith opens the door. “This is the Lord’s doing”, says the Psalm (118:23), and “it is marvelous in our eyes”, the eyes of faith.
Trust Papa Benny. A grammar lesson in the middle of a two million strong celebration!
But it touched a chord with me. Since Easter, I have been meditating deeply on “joy”. I heard and read all the texts that speak of “Easter Joy” and I have realised that I am hungry for “joy”. Day-to-day life is so mundane. So ordinary. Occasional blips of interest, and occasional deep troughs of despair. I am not a naturally depressive individual (one of my work colleagues calls me “Mr Happy”), so that latter are generally not long or particulary dark (although a recent $2500 bill for an unexpected repair job on my 1996 Diahatsu Pyzar was not a welcome surprise). Yet life does seem so awfully, awfully mundane. Is there any “joy” in my life any more? Am I capable of experiencing “joy”?
My answer to that question is, in my meditation, “Absolutely!” Yet I am also aware that an essential component of “joy” which makes it different from simple (?) happiness, is it’s unexpected nature. When “joy” happens in my life, it has always been a result of an unlooked for or sudden surprise of good news. Like the shepherds out in the fields, who suddenly received “Glad tidings of Great Joy”, or the women at the tomb, who heard the declaration: “He is not here, he is risen!”
And this joy is not something, according to the Pope, that St Peter said we “might” have, or “may” have, or “should pray for”, or even “should expect”: no, he says “you rejoice”, “you have joy”. Is it because “you have faith”? If so, Lord, help my unbelief that I may have JOY!