“Today is holy to the LORD your God.
Do not be sad, and do not weep . . . .
Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks,
and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared;
for today is holy to our LORD.
Do not be saddened this day,
for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength!”
We are living in evil times.
But today’s reading from Nehemiah reminds us that today is holy to our Lord God, and we are not to be sad, or angry, or downhearted. Instead, we are to rejoice!
To rejoice is to fill with joy.
Joy is not happiness. Joy is not based upon whether things are going well or not. Joy is an emotion that’s acquired by the acquisition or anticipation of something great or wonderful. Joy is exhilaration, delight, sheer gladness, and can result from a great success or a very beautiful or wonderful experience — or not.
St. Paul tells us joy is one of the fruits or the results of having the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. (1 Thess 1:6; Rom 14:17). Which is why we can be joyful even in the midst of great trials and suffering.
Joy even helped our Lord endure the cross: “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2).
So be joyful! Praise the Lord, and let your heart burst with joy!
May the joy and peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!