Monday, June 11, 2012

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product

Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.  ~Mother Teresa

(Gospel text: Mt 5:1-12)
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.
Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

Have you ever noticed that just as your cup of happiness is full and you finally settle back to enjoy it, somebody bumps your elbow? Happiness can be an elusive thing. I don’t know how you would measure this, but according to one study only 20 % of the people in the U.S. claim to be happy. For some people it is that “bumped elbow” that is upsetting their cup of happiness. For others, it can be that thing that never happens that upsets their happiness.

What is your picture of a happy life?

Is your picture of the happy life the “American dream”, the ideal of owning a home, two car garage, having 2 kids and a dog, enjoying your job, and having enough money to enjoy your leisure? What is your picture of a happy life? Where are the places you want to visit to find happiness, the movie theater, the amusement park, a mountain hiking trail, the shopping mall, a good restaurant, Bank One Ball Park? Or maybe for you it’s not the place so much as the circumstances that you hope will make you happy. Are you looking for happiness to come through something else? Perhaps you are looking for happiness in your relationships, or your family life? Or perhaps you are waiting for happiness to return with the change of circumstances, like the restoration of your health, or your financial situation, or finding the right job, or the right romance.

Jesus gave us a picture of a happy life that was very different. Jesus told us you can find happiness in strange places.

The beatitudes, which are noted in today’s gospel text are not a series of commands, but blessings that are described and the promises associated with the attitudes that are rewarded with these blessings. The beatitudes describe the kind of person who will receive the blessings of God. The beatitudes identify a series of qualities that produce happiness, even though happiness is not readily apparent

Where do you look for happiness?

No comments:

Post a Comment