Scripture Reading:  Jeremiah 29:4 – 14 
Welcome to today’s reflection with a heart throbbing question, “Joy in Babylon?”For the fact of their sinful life, the Israelites were conquered and carried away to Babylon by their captors.  Writing to the Jewish exiles taken captive in 597 BC, Jeremiah advised them to shun all false prophesies which says that their release was imminent.  He told them that at the end of 70 years of captivity, the remnants would seek God earnestly for restoration; He would answer their intercessions because of His plans for them.  Babylon is a place prepared by God for the Israelites to serve 70 years of exile/prison term in reparation for their sins.  In their captivity they intermarried with their hosts, but suffered lots of deprivations and denials because they were in a strange land.  They had lost the joy of their salvation and lived as ordinary people; no longer the special people of God.  Their sinful lives removed them from the favour of God.  Beloved, they may have been happy but not joyful.  Happiness is not joy; because happiness comes and goes.  It is momentary; it is a make-up and does not consume or affect the whole being.  Happiness fades away as soon as the situation that created it ceases to exist.  Therefore, beloved in Christ, it is unhealthy to cling to happiness, but to seek a high and an eternal virtue – Joy.  No wonder the scripture says, “God will guide Israel in joy by the light of His glory with His mercy and integrity for escort.” (Baruch 5:9)

Joseph Marmion says, “Joy is the echo of God’s life within us.”  W.A. Sunday complements Joseph Marmion when he advises, “If you have no joy in your religion, there’s a leak in your Christianity somewhere.”  Beloved in Christ, you cannot cling to happiness.  The Israelites were happy but had no joy, because they were captives (prisoners).  A sinner is under the captivity of Satan and can only be happy when he/she is enjoying sinful actions.  Minutes after the sinful act, happiness disappears.  So we could be happy for a while but the joy of the Lord which is our strength departs from us.  Beloved in Christ, let us desire the joy of the Lord.  Allow it to consume your total being.  For this to happen, these things are advised:  First, avoid all manners of sinful life.  Ensure an uninterrupted flow of relationship with the Lord.  Secondly, be conscious of your foundation.  Many Christians are standing on very false foundations.  There are foundations built on falsehood, wickedness, idolatry, etc.  Cracks always appear on such foundations unless they are carefully removed and replaced by that, laid in the Blood of Jesus.  A believer whose foundation is filthy can only enjoy momentary happy, but definitely no joy.  If these two issues are addressed we shall not only be happy but joyful also.

MASS:  VIOLET Jonah 3: 1-10; Ps 51: 3-4. 12-13. 18-19; Lk 11: 29-32LENTEN WEEKDAY/ JOHN OF GOD, RF

Prayer Points:

Take this song meditatively:  “Restore to me the joy of my salvation, O God, my God, You are my God.”

Lord, St. Paul says, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Eternal Father, I beseech You to grant me the needed grace to live above sin that I may be joyful always, in the name of Jesus.

God of mercy and love look with pity into my foundation.  Restore Your healing unto it and make me prosper according to Your will.

Pray for all Users of Daily Strength whose foundations are evil that God may replace them with His Blood.

Take meditatively the prayers on “Terminating Satanic Covenants”.

Exercise:  Take the prayer on “Rosary of Liberation” at least twice today.

Meditation: Nehemiah 8:10