Come with Joy... (today's responsorial psalm)
In the gospel the scribes and the Pharisees are condemning Jesus' disciples because the appear to be having too much fun, eating and drinking, etc.
Unfortunately we seem to have cured that problem. Find a Christian church anywhere of any denomination where the people appear to be having too much fun, are too filled with Joy. Apart from the all too common bickering and hunger for power in churches, it seems that we have confused the words "solemn" and "somber." We act as though joy and reverence can't coexist.
It strikes me that part of this may stem from what I believe is a misreading of the next part of the passage, when Jesus speaks of the bridegroom being taken away. Some I think believe that we are still living in that time, where the bridegroom is away and we therefore should be sad until his return.
I for one do not believe that the bridegroom is away. He was taken away, yes. He was crucified, yes. But he rose from the dead. He ascended but did not abandon us.
All I have to do is walk into a church or chapel anywhere and there it is, the sanctuary lamp that reminds me of the presence of Christ. Last night as I sat in St. Patrick's for our monthly holy hour, I know Christ was there. The bridegroom was with me. In the Eucharist is Christ less present to us than he was with those first disciples? I think not.
Today's response is Come with joy into the presence of the Lord. In fact it is the presence of the Lord that is the source of the joy. We can search for joy in other persons and things, but we will not find it, at least not real joy.
We can all lament the number of people who have fallen away from church. We can blame "the world" and "the media" all we want. But I truly believe that the only way we can really turn things around is for us to show that we actually believe that Christ is alive and present, by our lives, by the joy and love we show to the people around us.