Phil 4: 4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Choosing to rejoice

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!” (Phil 4:4). What an emphatic statement from Saint Paul! Why would Paul say this to the Philippians?

There are some commands in Scripture that I think are repeated only because the Lord knew we’d need to hear them over and over: do not be afraid, love one another, rejoice. The fact of the matter is that it’s much easier for us to come up with excuses not to do those things than it is to find reasons to do them. There’s a lot of pain in our world today—and there was a lot of pain in Paul’s world, too. Joy really is something we have to practice, something we have to choose. And with the knowledge that Jesus came to save us and will come again, we have every reason, every day, to follow Paul’s command.

So … Rejoice!

—Fr. Chris Kellerman, SJ, is a Jesuit priest and member of the Central and Southern Province. He serves as interim executive director of the Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola University New Orleans and as assistant pastor at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Baton Rouge, LA. In the Fall of 2022, Orbis Press will publish Chris’s new book on the history of the Catholic Church, slavery, and abolitionism. 

Prayer

Lord, help me to smile and to choose joy today!

—Fr. Chris Kellerman, SJ