Source of Happiness

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

February 13th, 2022 – Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 6:17, 20-26

Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.

My friendly pastor had a smile on his face when I entered his office. Ever curious about why people smile, I had to inquire as to the source of his delight. He said he had just been visited by a sign salesman. I asked him, “What kind of signs?” He replied, “Church signs. You know, the ones you see with the ten commandments on them.”

I then asked if he brought one. He said that he didn’t, but he was still interested. He had asked the sign salesman if he had one with the eight beatitudes. He’d be interested in that. No, the man replied. No one is really interested in them. Too negative.

Still, there they are in the gospels of both Matthew and Luke. In summary, they state that the blessings made available by God through Jesus are especially for the poor, for those who hunger, for those who are sad and weep and for those who experience hatred and disapproval of others. Not exactly the kind of platform for anyone running for public office. Yet there is much wisdom in these seemingly negative conditions. Especially when you consider what their opposites would be.

Jesus often speaks of the negatives associated with being rich. Having riches (meaning basically you own much more than you need to survive) can be all consuming. After all, rich people must constantly protect their own interests. They worry about their holdings. They may be happy at times, but deep down, their concern over their riches might rob them of a deeper happiness, the one that’s spoken of in the beatitudes.

The hungry can be those who don’t have enough to eat, but many biblical scholars say that Jesus is not only addressing them, but also those who hunger to know the truth, to be a better person, to yearn to be closer to God. Those who weep are those who allow themselves to be touched and influenced by the hardships of others and seek to make things better for all. All great gospel values.

And finally, those who experience rejection from others (especially undeserved) because of envy or jealousy, they too are blessed because they are closer to the truth. The beatitudes are a deep source of enlightenment. Read them slowly and reflect on them to find wisdom that can bring you not only closer to God, but also a fuller experience of the great gift of life you have been given by God.      

©David M. Thomas, PhD

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