“For I created Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight; I will rejoice in Jerusalem and exult in my people.” – Is. 65:18-19

It doesn’t take much to become saddened these days. One can turn to a media station and learn about the suffering of so many people around the world. Social media has become an outlet for people to vent about their problems or comment on the current political climate. Our nation is fraught with racial tension, fear, and division.

It’s. All. So. Negative.

Yet today we are reminded that “Jerusalem was created to be a joy,” in which the Lord will delight. The Prophet Isaiah is calling the people out of themselves to remember their creator, the one who fashioned them and drew them into a covenant, so as to recall the truth of who they are. As someone who is easily overwhelmed with sadness this reminder serves to help me focus. We cannot turn our heart away from sad realities, but we also cannot forget who accompanies us when we are sad. Sadness does not have the final word.

In the Gospel, Jesus himself encounters suffering while he is on his way. The royal official approached him with a request to heal his ailing son, and Jesus assured him that he would live. He believed in Jesus and at the moment the fever left his son. This Lenten season, we too are on our way, though it may be heavy, painful, and sad, towards the celebration of Resurrection. I am invited to approach Jesus in a fearless way, with my needs and with my saddened heart. And in my desire to trust Him wholeheartedly, I am challenged to practice joy. Jesus can hold the world, with all of its fragility and beauty, in a way I never will be able to, and he can show me how to follow.

In what ways are you drawn to come to Jesus? How might you practice Joy this Lenten season?

Ana Lopez