Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Isaiah 65: 17-21
John 4: 43-54
"…there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create: For I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight…" Isaiah 65: 18
There was a period in my life, many years ago, when I spent a great deal of time and energy feeling sorry for myself because I was focused mostly on all of the material things that I didn’t have… things that I believed would bring happiness and joy to my life (a better job, a bigger house, more money…you know the drill !!). One day I saw a poster that changed my way of thinking. It was a cartoon character of a man wearing only a barrel, held up by shoulder straps, and the words underneath said…."Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have."
This poster helped me to begin my journey of developing an attitude of gratitude that has brought much happiness and joy to my life. The words on the poster suggested that I begin to look at what I’ve been given…the many blessings that God had placed in my life (a loving wife, a beautiful family, good health, a growing relationship with God…you know the drill!!). Trying to live in the gift of the present moment today helps me to continually see new blessings…new gifts that God places in my life.
In the Gospel story today, John tells us that Jesus had come back to Cana in Galilee. Cana is the place where Jesus performed His first miracle when He turned water into wine at the wedding feast (He certainly brought joy to that couple !!). Now, back in Cana again, He is approached by a Roman official who begs Jesus to come to his home and cure his son who is very ill. Jesus states "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe." Then Jesus says to the official, "You may go; your son will live." This man of great faith believes the words of Jesus and heads for home. He is met on the way by his servant who tells him that the fever left his son about the time Jesus spoke his words of healing. Joy and happiness certainly followed since "…he and his whole household came to believe."
Still today, I often need a "check up from the neck up" to remind me where to keep my focus and to be reminded that God, indeed, wants each of us to be happy, joyous and free.
Deacon Brian Clements is a retired member of the retreat team at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California