16 February
Mt 9:14-15

The disciples of John came to Jesus, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘The wedding-guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

Happiness can be manufactured to some extent, and just for short periods; but joy is a stroke from beyond.  Joyless religion may be the profoundest denial of God.  If there is no joy in it, it’s all your own work, so what need have you of God?  If the Resurrection is not visible in you, then you are preaching death without resurrection.  One of the fruits of the Spirit is joy, and it is mentioned next after love in St Paul’s list: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5:22).  If you had no love in you, you could hardly claim to be a Christian; likewise joy (and all the others).  

Joy does not come from avoiding pain and sorrow; on the contrary it is possible only when we have gone into the heart of our pain and sorrow.  We have to go into the heart of it and experience a certain transformation, the characteristic shift that is the sign that the ‘chemistry’ of the Gospel is working (see February 11).  If we avoid the process nothing happens; we will have to continue all our lives to avoid it.  That way there is no joy, only endless desperate flight.


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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 


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