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Monday, March 15, 1999

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Isaiah 65:17-21
Psalm 30
John 4:43-54

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will you harvest easter joy?

"At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing." —Psalm 30:6

Yesterday was Laetare Sunday, meaning Rejoice Sunday. We are rejoicing because we are getting close to Easter, the celebration of the risen Christ, and a deepening of our relationship with Him.

Today, the Church calls us to hear: "There shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create; for I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight; I will rejoice in Jerusalem and exult in My people" (Is 65:18-19). The Lord promises us that we will have everlasting joy, be a joy as His people, and be a joy for Him.

Joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22). Because it is a fruit, it is an end product of a process of growth. Because it is a fruit, it takes some time for it to be produced. The Holy Spirit is at this moment in the process of producing the fruit of joy in our lives. The Spirit is calling us to be unselfish so that we can rejoice always (Phil 4:5). The Spirit is lusting against (Gal 5:17) and crucifying the flesh so that we will not stifle in selfishness the joy of the Spirit (see 1 Thes 5:19). The Spirit is also giving us the privilege of suffering for Jesus. In these sufferings, we find our joy (Col 1:24; see also 1 Pt 4:13).

The Holy Spirit is growing a great Easter harvest of joy. Will you be the seed that falls to the earth and dies so as to bear abundant fruit of joy? (see Jn 12:24)

Prayer:  Father, may I receive joy and be a joy, especially for You and especially in this year of God the Father.

Promise:  "He and his whole household thereupon became believers." —Jn 4:53

Praise:  Sarah's songs of worship encourage everyone in church to rejoice.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 23, 1998

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 27, 1998