Faith is not merely a personal reaching out towards things to come that are still totally absent: it gives us something. It gives us even now something of the reality we are waiting for, and this present reality constitutes for us a “proof” of the things that are still unseen. Faith draws the future into the present, so that it is no longer simply a “not yet”. The fact that this future exists changes the present; the present is touched by the future reality, and thus the things of the future spill over into those of the present and those of the present into those of the future. — Pope Benedict XVI
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
For Christians, joy is the preeminent sign of the new creation, exploding from the empty tomb, spilling into the present. Joy is the most important element of witness Christians can give the world. Joy, which is the delight of unshakable hope in a God who eternally loves us, testifies with unparalleled eloquence to the living Truth faith embraces and confesses.
Yet it is not simply that Christians are themselves to be a joyful people, but that they, with irrepressible zeal, bring joy into the world around them. Each disciple of Jesus is to be a charatokos, a “joy-bearer.” Like angelic messengers flashing with superabundant joy, we are sent into the world to roll back the stones from every tomb and leave in our wake a new world “unveiled” by Christ.
The world I touch should always be more hopeful, lighter, brighter, more beautiful than it was before, because “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27) overflows into the deserts of this world. In us, Isaiah 41:18 is to be fulfilled:
I will open rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
and the dry land springs of water.
God, who is rich in joy, created all things to share in His joy. The incarnation of God in Jesus, under the form of the Passion, had as its goal the dispossession of divine joy for us. 2 Cor. 8:9:
For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.
Marked by such a divine economy, joy is never possessed, only held in trust; and then, only when it’s given away. To paraphrase Mother Teresa, “if you have no joy, find another with no joy, lead them to joy and you will discover joy.” Yes,
give, and it will be given to you.
A good measure, pressed down,
shaken together, running over,
will be put into your lap;
for the measure you give
will be the measure you get back (Luke 6:38).
So flood the world these 50 days of Easter glory with the inexhaustible wellspring of joy!
Arabic: Al-Masih qam minbain’il-amwat,
wa wati al mowt bil mowt,
wa wahab’l hayah lil ladhina fi’l qubur
Greek: Christos anesti ek nekron,
thanato thanaton patisas,
ke tis en tis mnimasin,
English: Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs