Grace to you!
I’m ecstatic to read God’s word in the Gospel of Luke 10:21. “In that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said: ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to infants; Yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.’” (Lk 10:21)
It warmed my heart to realize Jesus is actually excited when someone understands or grasps the gift of his revelation.
So you know, the Greek word used to describe the joy the Lord felt is egalliasato. It has a sense of someone who is excited and full of exultation and joy for seeing a loved one, such as a child, win.
Imagine you going to watch your child in kindergarten or high school, or even college, play his or her first baseball for the school. Imagine the kind of excitement you’ll have if your child hits a home run which decides the game. It’s comparable, in its highest form, to the Joy Jesus felt.
Or the excitement of watching your humbling child, whom you thought would never make it through college, graduate in flying colors. I would love for you to think about that very moment and that kind of joy. It isn’t even close to what Jesus felt.
Did you also notice that in expressing his Joy, the Holy Spirit and God the Father were referenced too? “Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said: “I thank you, Father…” Thus, it is a joy that is complete, a joy which has three divine persons’ participation, a Trinitarian Joy.
Imagine that the Joy Jesus feels is the Trinitarian joy for you and me. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit share in the joy when we come to believe in Jesus as Lord. It reminds me of the parable of the lost sheep and lost coin in the Gospel of Luke 15, when Jesus tells us that there is great joy in heaven when a person welcomes the grace of conversion.
Think about this: God is excited when we discover He is God, when we have faith in Him, when His revelation is clearer to us. There is joy when we know Jesus as the truth, our hope and salvation. There is joy when we participate in the work of God, and our names are written in the Book of Life.
Isn’t this a wonderful thing to be aware that God is excited about the believer? This should stir in our heart sentiments of gratitude. Gratitude to God who has given us the grace to relate with Him as a friend and a brother in Christ. Our hearts should be filled with joy when we connect the dots of divine conversation and be part of the work of bearing witness to Christ.
We ask the Good Lord to open our hearts to see more and more; connect more and more with the life He has given through Christ. May God fill our hearts with joy and may our joy be complete. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Saturday Week 26 Ordinary Time: Job 42:1-3,5-6, 12-17; Luke 10:17-24]
Grace to you!
Thousands of pilgrims were in attendance at Saint Peter’s Square in Rome on Sunday, October 18, 2015 to witness the canonization of Marie-Azelie and Louis Martin, the parents of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, by Pope Francis.
During the homily in the serenity of the solemn Eucharistic celebration, the the Holy Father stated:
“The holy spouses, Louis Martin and Marie-Azelie Guerin, practiced Christian service in the family, creating day by day an environment of faith and love which nurtured the vocations of their daughters, among whom was Saint Therese of the Child Jesus." They are the first-ever married couple with children to be canonized in the same ceremony.
History was made. It is people who make history. The Martins did, and in a big way—the way of sanctity. It is in this context I always look at the story of Saint Theresa (January 2, 1873 – September 30, 1897), popularly known as The Little Flower. Her appreciation and practice of virtue started in the home, the "Church of the home" (John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, 1981, #38). Modeling the way for the child, as Proverbs 22:6 admonishes, is rewarding.
From her parents, now Saints Zelie and Louis Martin, Thérèse witnessed pure love, and felt God’s enduring love. In that home, she never heard voices raised, hate discussed, materialism promoted and immodesty approved. Love and kindness trumped. She saw beauty as it is and realized how God was seen in all life and activities of the family. Suffering and sickness were not to take away the joy of that home.
So for the girl Therese, the home nurtured the saint. It’s important for us to pay attention to the impact our examples could have on children. Children practice what they learn from home, just as they practice at home what they learn elsewhere, including what they copy from the media. Watchful care is important. Tender, pure and loving example is key.
The Little Flower’s example of “the little way” is spiritually brilliant. For the Little Flower, it is “doing ordinary things extraordinarily with love. This spiritual model sounds simple, but it is profound. It’s a model that could permeate every aspect of our lives today, if we live up to it. Often, it is in those little acts of love that holiness of life flourishes. It is in them that God is glorified.
Simple acts such as housecleaning, making our bed, keeping the restroom better than we found it, a genuine smile to a stranger, proper use of time, not wasting food and giving somebody a listening ear, may have great impact. So also simple acts of charity, spontaneous prayers in response to a prayer-burden, generous gift of our time to help someone else, etc., could mean much in our spiritual life. In doing such simple things as these with pure love, we lead the way of perfection.
The temptation to be known, to be famous or to do incredible things is huge for many. Nonetheless, we learn from the Little Flower how true it is that exaltation comes from God to the simple and the humble (Prov 3:34; Mt 23:12). Pope Pius X called her “the greatest saint of the modern times.” It wasn’t because of her unusual ascetic life, exceptional academic qualifications, physical beauty, mind-boggling ideas or innovation, or material success. It was for her pure love and audacious simplicity. Her heart was like that of a child, the kind the Lord presents to us as a model (Lk 9:46-48).
Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus (I take her as my girlfriend) has taught me many things as she taught another Father Maurice, a French Missionary in Africa, who was her penpal and friend, how to love God above all else. I owe to her some aspects of my spiritual journey.
Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus, pray for us.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.