What makes us happy? That is the question my priest asked in a recent homily. Yes, we should be happy over the good things in our lives from a professional promotion, clean bill of health, visits from family and friends, winning a prize, scoring a high grade on a test, or even reuniting with someone that hasn’t been seen or heard in years.
In today’s hyperactive, technological, apparatus that surrounds us daily, it can be a challenge to find something to make us happy. We’re constantly discouraged by shootings, high prices, the passing of celebrities, our favorite teams falling short of winning a sport, and many other things that weigh our spirits down.
Thankfully, we have something to be happy or rather to be joyful. Rejoice! Jesus is near. We’re just halfway through our Lenten journey we look with joy and happiness in our hearts as the pink candle is lit along with the other two purple candles. This is something that will boost us.
Some of the saints in the Catholic Church took refuge in God amid persecution or suffering. In the Gospel for Gaudete Sunday (Matthew 11:2-11), we hear how St. John the Baptist longs for Christ as he suffers in prison for preaching about the coming of Christ. He questions if his cousin is the one that the prophets have foretold. The good news is he receives the confirmation that it is him.
Likewise, we too suffer daily from those who ridicule, attack or dismiss us for being authentic Catholics. Yet, we rejoice because we place our hope in the coming of Christ. Indeed, the God of mercy is in his midst.
Some of the saints did it when they defied man-made laws to follow God-made laws. Look at the pro-lifers who have chosen the bold way to shut down abortion facilities in their community. Some are paying the price, but their reward is heaven. That is our main goal in this life.
When we long for Jesus, we long to be happy because he brings us his peace. He wants us to walk towards him.
As a child, we longed to hug our parents when they pick us up from school, await our return from traveling, or come home from a long day of work.
Jesus longs for us to come to him just as we long for him.
The prophet Isaiah reminds us, “Be strong! Fear not.” God is near even while our world is suffering from a dark agenda.
"Rejoice in the Lord, always; again, I say, rejoice. The Lord is near." Philippians 4:4-5