Sunday, January 29, 2017

Homily for 4th Sunday Ordinary Time

It might seem crazy what I'm about to say....because I'm happy....clap along if you feel like a room without a roof, clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth, clap along if you know what happiness is to you!  Somehow these lyrics from Pharrell Williams reminded me of the Beatitudes!
 I'm happy, how about you?  Are you happy? 

As people of faith, Jesus calls us to be happy, and he tells us how in today's Gospel.

How happy are you?  I'm not talking about the happiness we think comes from the balance in our checkbook, the car we drive, the home we own, the next vacation we will plan.  All these things do bring some happiness, but Jesus tells us in this Gospel what true happiness is.  In the beatitudes, we hear the word "blessed" but literally translated from the Hebrew and the Greek, the word is "happy".  It would be perfectly fine if we hear "happy are the poor in spirit" and "happy are the peacemakers".  The challenge, presented to us in the beatitudes, is to be happy in Christ, with Christ and to be like Christ.  And the beatitudes reveal for us an order of happiness and grace.  So to be really happy, we are called to be poor in spirit, to mourn, to be meek, to hunger and thirst for righteousness, to be merciful, to be clean of heart and to be a peacemaker.  And then Jesus adds that we will be really happy if we are persecuted and insulted for righteousness and the kingdom.  Now this happiness is true happiness because we are acknowledging our total dependence on God and it's everlasting nature in this life and the life to come in Heaven!

Let's unpack a couple of these beatitudes.  Poor in spirit has nothing to do with tangible wealth, it has everything to do with humility.  Are you and I capable of being humble in our walk with Christ and in our actions with one another?  St. Thomas tells us that there is no virtue without humility.  We are called, to be truly happy, to empty ourselves of all our stuff and make room for all things Christ.
What about being meek.  As red-blooded Americans we may reject that idea because we confuse meek with weak.  There is no weakness in being meek as Christ calls us to be meek.  Being meek calls us to control our own strength, to allow ourselves to be teachable, to allow Jesus to mold us like clay in the hands of the potter and then submit our own strengths to the Lord.

To follow these beatitudes, to allow ourselves to be really happy with Christ, requires a deeper personal relationship with Him and with His Church.  And when we do this, only then will we be happy, truly happy!

In the week ahead can I ask each of us to consider one or more of the following possibilities to "be attitude" and "be truly happy":

Plan to attend First Friday Adoration this coming Friday, and attend Benediction Friday night at 7 pm right here in this church, make a sincere confession, reconcile with someone or do something incredibly kind, sign up for our next parish Bible Study that focuses on the beauty of the Mass, pray the beatitudes at least twice this week and develop a true attitude of gratitude and be truly happy!
I'm happy, clap along because happy can't bring me down...Love is too happy to ever bring me down, clap along, because happiness is the truth!

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