Are You Happy?

Monday of Week 10 in Ordinary Time - Cycle I

2 Cor. 1:1-7 and Mt. 5:1-12

There was an occasion when one wife said to another, 'You are so fortunate. You have a great marriage. Does your husband make you happy?' She replied, “No. The fact that I am happy or not doesn’t depend on him but on me. I make the choice to be happy in each situation and in each moment of my life. If my happiness were to depend on other people, on circumstances or experiences, I would be in serious trouble. Everything that exists in this life constantly changes. I must not let these circumstances and experiences take away my attitude of happiness. I decide whether to be happy or not. It is not the interaction with my husband that makes me happy. Of course I love him dearly and he loves me, despite the circumstances of our lives which change.'

Are you someone who thinks you cannot be happy because you are sick or have no money, because it is too cold or someone insulted you? You can be happy even though you are sick, or you have no money, or it is cold or someone has insulted you. Being happy is an attitude about life and each of us must decide whether we will be happy or not.

This is what Jesus is telling us in today’s Gospel passage. He was telling His followers the things that should make them happy and fill them with bliss … being poor in spirit, sorrowful, hungry, even being persecuted for justice sake!

Have we heard Jesus correctly? Everything in our society is calculated to making us rich and eliminating every form of pain and sorrow. With lottery fever we are led to believe that happiness is to be found in money and everything that money can buy.

This is not Jesus’ way of thinking. He wished to establish for His followers a whole new set of values. He insisted that happiness comes, not from relying on riches, but on God. “How happy are the poor in spirit.” The poor in spirit are those who depend completely on God and see Him alone as the source of all good. The world will protest that this approach just simply does not work. But it worked for the saints like St. Paul who truly believed that “God comforts us in all our sorrows.” In other words, if we rely on Him no matter what comes our way, He will take good care of us and comfort us. We need never put our trust and reliance on this world and what it has to offer but entirely on Him. That is what it means to be happy.

Jesus in effect says to us, 'Make your choice: rely on things which cannot last, or rely on God who never fails.' In whom do I put my trust, in God or the world?

Lord Jesus, if I am not happy at this moment, the answer has to be I am putting my trust in the world’s values. Help me to shift my reliance from that of the world to You.