I know that I have said this many times before, but this is truly one of my favorite verses in all of Scripture: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete.” And this time I can prove it; this is the verse that I chose to have printed on my ordination holy card 27 years ago. You might say that this verse is my “John 3:16.” Why this verse, you might ask, out of all the others? Well I suppose it is because, at least to me, this verse expresses very clearly the desire that is so much in Jesus’ heart-that His joy might indeed be our joy. Isn’t that a wonderful concept? He wants His joy to be our joy and he wants our joy to be complete. That is what he so desires for us; it is why He says everything He says; it is why He does everything He does; it is why He died on the cross-so that we might be full of joy. At the time of my ordination I felt that these words expressed what needs to be at the heart of the mission and ministry of the priest-to express Jesus’ desire that all people might be full of true joy and to be agents of spreading the joy of Jesus to everyone. To this day, I try, albeit very imperfectly, to use these words as a guide to all my thoughts, all my words, and all my actions. The priest is called to strive to be a bridge which allows people to have access to Jesus. To me, that’s what these words are all about. Of course, however, these words are not just meant for priests. They are meant for all of us. They teach us that Jesus’ primary purpose is to help us experience His joy. That is what it is all about- not sin, not suffering not death, but joy-His joy. But not only does He want His joy to be ours, He needs us to spread His joy to everyone. And the way that we do that is to live as if we believe it. If we believe that Jesus wants His joy to be ours, and live as such, then indeed we will spread His joy to others and our joy will be complete.