Friday, February 11, 2022

Like the Wind in our Sails || Sixth Sunday of the Ordinary Time - Year C

Reading I : Jer 17:5-8 Responsorial  Psalm : Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6                            Reading II : 1 Cor 15:12, 16-20                                       Gospel : Lk 6:17, 20-26

Alleluia, alleluia.

Rejoice and be glad;
your reward will be great in heaven.
Alleluia, alleluia. (Lk 6, 23)

Reading this Sunday's Gospel, I remember what God said to Israel in Dt 20.15.19: “Look! I put before you today life and happiness (blessing), or else death and misfortune (curse). Choose life..." It is exactly the same choice Jesus invites us to make by successively presenting to us four attitudes of happiness (Beatitudes) and four attitudes of unhappiness. And it should be noted that the 1st reading (“Cursed be the man…” and “Blessed be the man…”) and the Psalm (“Happy is the man…” and “Such is not the fate of wicked”) are situated in the same logic of invitation to choose life, happiness, blessing. 

I find it very comforting that Jesus cares about our happiness by taking into account the least aspects of our life, namely: our material situation (“Blessed are you, poor people…”); our basic/most basic needs (“Happy are you who are hungry now…”); our feelings/emotions (“Happy are you who are crying now…”); of our relationships with others (“Happy are you when men hate you…”). I find it very encouraging to know that I can still be happy, even in the midst of these various difficult situations seemingly at odds with happiness. But how is this possible? Let's look at the last two beatitudes to get an idea. 

"Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh." A priori, it is certainly not good to be in affliction and to make tears and sadness a Beatitude. But this Beatitude reminds me of these words from a parable of Jesus as a reproach to his contemporaries: “We played the flute, and you did not dance. We sang songs of mourning, and you did not cry. Instead of dancing to the sound of the flute, Jesus' contemporaries wept instead; and instead of crying to songs of mourning, they danced instead. I understand that not all the joys we experience are necessarily positive or constructive. On the other hand, even if the feeling of sadness is often destructive, a certain form of sadness can be fulfilling because it is motivated by solidarity, by compassion, by empathy, by charity. 

“Happy are you when men hate you and exclude you…”. Yes, I recognize that it is very painful and very depressing to see oneself rejected by others because of one's convictions. But the most serious and destructive rejection we can experience is self-rejection by ourselves, that is, when we come to deny our convictions in order to be accepted by others. Jesus wants to tell us that harmony with ourselves is much more important than harmony with others in leading us to happiness. Harmony with others must be built on the rock of harmony with oneself; otherwise, harmony with others is only artificial and cannot lead us to real fulfillment and happiness. Let us first seek harmony with ourselves and God, and harmony with others will be given to us as well. 

 Thank you, Lord, for showing us the true path to happiness. 


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