May Your Joy Be Complete

Fr. Alberto Villafan, OFM

From Our Associate Pastor

How many of us sincerely love God above all things? And if we love God with that magnitude, do we fulfill, keep, and practice his commandments? It would be extremely important to meditate deeply on these questions and the Gospel of this Sunday, May 5th, before answering them. Remember that we have been created in God’s image and likeness. Therefore, we are God’s; we belong to Him, and He wants us always to be united with Him and live for Him.

As we know, we reflect God’s image and likeness by fulfilling His commandments. Just as Jesus is united and remains with his Father, we are invited to do the same. “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you, and your joy might be complete.”

St. Francis at Prayer

It is one thing to say that we love God and remain with Him, just in words. However, our behaviors, thoughts, actions, and attitudes reflect the opposite. How do we know if we remain in God and He in us? It would be good to evaluate our lives and ask ourselves if we practice remaining in Him. Do we love and forgive one another, as Jesus has taught us?

Are we compassionate, merciful, kind, generous, and caring towards each other as Jesus is towards us? What would our world be like if all of us who call ourselves Catholic Christians practiced the commandments? Surely, our lives would be more fruitful, humanitarian, and complete.

Jesus tells us that if we keep and practice the commandments, our “joy might be complete.” That complete joy is only achieved if we remain united to our God. If we have noticed, in the Gospels of these past weeks, Jesus has been telling us about that unity that He lives with his Heavenly Father. Jesus told us in last Sunday’s gospel. “I am the true vine and my Father the vinedresser. I am the vine; you are the branches.”

Let us do our best, brothers and sisters, to always live united to our God, no matter what happens. “Without God, we can do absolutely nothing”; we will never produce abundant fruit if we do it independently. How many people have we met who have always lived united to God and remained faithful to Him? I imagine you, and I know men and women are always living united with God, and their “joy is always complete.” Despite their problems, crises, or illnesses, they always have a calm, even-tempered, smiling countenance. How can it be? Because they have always remained with God and God with them.

Brothers and sisters, let us not live our Catholicism solely by appearances, pretenses, feelings, and words but with deeds, words, and actions; otherwise, our abiding in God will be vain and useless. With all our ups and downs, problems, difficulties, and crises, let us be captivated by Jesus. Let Him act in us for our well-being and “complete joy.” With God, everything is possible; without God, everything is banal and fleeting. Let God be God in us to purify and sanctify us. Let it be so.

With love and affection, Friar Alberto Villafan, OFM

(En Español)

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