“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11)

It was one o’clock in the morning when the couple received news that their two sons would be returning home from the war in two months’ time. They were so excited that they stayed awake all the rest of the night reminiscing about their boys and making plans for their eventual reunion. They knew their sons were still in harm’s way, but there was no room for doubt and worry that night. Their joy sprang from their hope.

As believers, we too are invited to rejoice in something that hasn’t fully come to pass. Jesus has risen victorious from death. He has tri­umphed in the battle against sin and given us a share in his victory. But at the same time, his full victory has yet to be revealed, and we find ourselves living in hope. We still face battles against sin and tempta­tion. We still face situations that threaten our peace or rob us of joy. In short, we are still waiting for the Second Coming, when our joy will be complete.

Just as the soldiers’ parents found joy by living in hope, so too can we. It’s what we do, in fact, every time we celebrate Mass. Gathered as one people, we hear Jesus speak his words to us—words of life that tell us of the promise of heaven and the salvation that he won for us. Then, offering him our gifts, we fix our eyes on the altar, where bread and wine are transformed into his body and blood.

This is the reason for our hope! Just as the bread and wine become something different, so too will our lives be transformed at the end of time. Every time we receive Jesus’ body and blood, we receive a share in the divine life that will completely suffuse us one day. We receive more strength, more encouragement, and more love to sustain us as we con­tinue our vigil. And so we continue to wait in joyful hope for that day when our joy will be complete.

“Lord Jesus, help me to live in your love today!”