There is much turmoil and division in our world today. Like the disciples of the early Church, our faith can bring us into sometimes uncomfortable or touchy situations. Living out the beatitudes isn’t the “celebrated” lifestyle of our culture today. The up and comers of our world are famous, rich and possibly have reality TV shows. It is these lifestyles that our culture looks to exemplify and hold on a high pedestal; these things will make you a happy fulfilled person. Yet to be truly happy, we are called to live in this world, but not be of it.
If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Jn 15:18 – 19
The happiness that we seek is in Jesus Christ and is rooted in him. Our hearts yearn for our Creator and the happiness He brings. This kind of happiness comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ, living as a servant for others, being an example using the beatitudes and proclaiming Christ crucified through our daily lives. These actions may not cause us to have the “happiness” that we see on TV or on Facebook, but they will help us to attain true happiness in the end. What today’s Gospel is reminding us of is that there is something much greater ahead of us.
You will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. Jn 16:20-21
I remember the day that my daughter was born and how much worry was on my mind. Would we both be healthy? Will I be able to take care of her? Will she take to me? All of these worries swirled around in my mind until the moment I heard that beautiful cry come out from her. At that moment, the worries subsided and I focused on the joy of her face. I had never known such love and peace. Jesus uses this example to show us a glimpse of what it will be like when we encounter him in all of His glory. So as we go about our day, let us keep in mind the kind of happiness we are seeking. Even though it may not look like everyone else’s version of happy, we are on the path to eternal happiness.
“Only He who made man can make man happy.” St. Augustine
Kimberley Valdez is the Pastoral Associate at Holy Name Passionist Retreat Center in Houston, Texas.