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Friends, the two most important words in our Gospel today are joy and commandments. “I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.” And, “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love.”

These are not terms that we readily juxtapose. We usually associate commandments with the carrying out of duty and responsibility or with moral rectitude, and that normally seems opposed to joy.

However, in Thomas Aquinas’ treatment of human behavior, the first question raised is not about law or virtue, but rather joy. Thomas wonders what the nature of true happiness is. What all of us seek, whether we are young or old, Christian or non-Christian, male or female, rich or poor, is joy.

The whole point of the moral life is to make us happy. So how do we become happy? Thomas’ answer, which is in line with the great tradition, is through the proper ordering of one’s desire, through learning how to desire the right things and in the right way. And that’s precisely what Jesus commands us to do.