Joy in the Holy Spirit

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In this passage Jesus is overcome with joy in the Holy Spirit. He looks at those following him, listening to his every word, and sees their childlike innocence. They are not the rich, or the educated, or the powerful. They are the meek and the lowly, the little ones who follow him wide-eyed, in innocent faith, believing in him and in the promise he represents. His love for them is so intense that he is moved to voice the following prayer of praise:

ʺI give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.ʺ

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What has been revealed to them? In him they see the promises of the prophets fulfilled. They see the longed-for hope of the Kingdom made manifest.

Then he turns to his disciples in private and says to them:

ʺBlessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.ʺ

Jesus is saying this directly to us in this passage now, in this day, in this moment. Blessed are we who have seen the time of the promised Messiah. Blessed are we who hear and harken to his word every day. Blessed are we who have the opportunity to meditate on the life of Christ, to take it in and to make it part of our daily lives. With God’s grace we bend our wills to the idea that, ʺTo whom much is given, much is expected.ʺ In this day and time, it is we who must now live our lives in the ways of Christ so that those who do not as yet know him might see him in our actions and in our words. It is up to us now to speak God’s word to those who have not heard it. And we must do this with childlike innocence and humility, knowing that our success depends on God’s grace alone. We are mere instruments in his hand. We know that all good is done in and through him. This is the innocent, childlike faith that brings God’s joy into our lives. It is this innocence that attracts others to God as well.

Let us pray, then, for this innocence daily, so that we, too, might be childlike followers of the Innocent One. His joy will be made complete in us when we do.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.