Scripture Reading Reflection


By Fr. Andrew Kelly
Every Easter Eucharistic Prayer Preface declares: “Therefore, overcome with paschal joy…”
In Sunday’s Gospel (John 15:9-17) Christ teaches: “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.”
If joy is characteristic of the believing community, why so often does joylessness come across instead? Obviously, some major soul searching needs to be done.
Does the community believe and practice what Christ teaches?
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.”
With concrete action the community is to lay down its life, surrender its very soul, for the sake of others. This is practicing the love that gave Christ such joy. If Christ’s active love is not driving the community’s every thought, word and deed, no wonder the community’s soul is so joyless.
A community is “overcome with paschal joy” by concretely practicing Christ’s joyful love: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” The community is joyless no more.
(Father Andrew Kelly is a retired priest of the Diocese of Davenport.)

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