"We are writing this so that our joy may be complete." 1 Jn 1:4
Bickering, rigidity and unfettered competition can drain the life out of any community which is precisely what was happening in the community to which St John was writing his first letter. Struggling to understand how Jesus could be both fully God and fully human, some believers dismissed the mystery altogether by proposing that Jesus was not really human but only God in a human disguise.
John takes a different tack. Trying to help the community see that the mystery of the incarnation could never be reduced to words, John encourages them to put aside their disagreements and serve others on behalf of the Gospel. In this way, he assured them, they would begin to appreciate more deeply the mystery of God's presence in the world as they saw its "truth" living in those they served.
This simple lesson is still true today. There are times that we get stuck inside our heads, especially when we are trying to convince others that our insights and opinions are correct and important. Perhaps if we followed St John's advice to help the needy when we are in turmoil, we might reach a more peaceful place. Care for those most in need often settles our spirits in ways we could never have imagined or articulated and brings us a kind of joy beyond words.
Today serve someone in need. Your joy will be overwhelming.
Has service of those in need ever brought you joy?