Perhaps one of the most powerful images on this Sunday marked by joy is the one from the prophet Zephaniah that depicts God bursting into song with joy over Israel. We’ve been trained to think that divine judgment necessarily means divine condemnation, but today we hear a different message, one that tells us the joy God takes in us – and not run-of-the-mill joy but exuberant, festive jubilation. Just think what it means that God will sing joyfully because of you, because of me!

I have a sense that, if I opened my arms that are so firmly and defensively crossed against my chest, God would take them into his own arms and sweep me up into the divine dance.

—Fr. Martin Connell, S.J. is Professor of Education at John Carroll University, University Heights, OH,  and Rector of the John Carroll University Jesuit community.