The WORD in Other Words by Fr Paulino Belamide, SVD (Philippines) for Friday After Ash Wednesday
Commentator William Barclay says that this short passage is telling us two things: 1) that to be with Jesus is “a thing of joy” – that is, to experience “a sheer thrilling effervescence of life”; and 2) “no joy lasts forever.”
In the context of discipleship, life on earth is a journey towards God, a way of the Cross in the manner of the master Jesus who said: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross dailyand follow me” (Lk 9:23; also Mt 16:24 and Mk 8:34). A seemingly joyless scene, but for the Christian pilgrim there is something that uplifts and sustains as one walks along the path that Jesus had trod: the joy and the promise of his/her encounter with the Lord.
Of course, lasting joy comes only at the end, at the completion of the journey when the promise is fulfilled, but the pilgrim can always relive the joy of that encounter:
1) through the joy of faith –in the certainty of knowing Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Jn 14:6);
2) through the joy of hope –in the inner peace that comes from putting oneself completely in God’s hands, in the promises of Jesus of full and everlasting life to all who follow Him;
3) through the joy of love –in being fully alive as a result of being totally free to love as God has commanded.
Jesus said: “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). The meaning of life is love: to love is to have life. And to have life in abundance – to be fully alive – one must be completely free for love.
source – The WORD in Other Words, Bible Diary 2020