4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 29, 2017 – Year A
Readings: Zep 2:3, 3:12-13 / Psalm 146 / 1 Cor 1:26-31 / Mt 5:1-12a
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
We all know that everybody wants to be happy. The courses on the science of happiness are becoming more and more popular in colleges and universities when, not too long ago, they were not even part of the curriculum. The song entitled “Happy” by Pharrell Williams was number one on the billboard charts for many weeks. It was downloaded more than a million times, and was used in music videos and animations. All these are confirmations of the fact that happiness is indeed a basic human desire. However, the result of The Harris Poll survey conducted just six months ago revealed that the happiness index of Americans is at an all-time low. The pursuit of happiness is a right of every human being but actually being happy is a completely different story.
In today’s gospel, the Lord Jesus, by teaching us the Beatitudes, has given us an idea on how we can obtain happiness in the complete sense of the word. The Good News Bible uses the word “happy” instead of “blessed” in these passages. Here are a few of its translations:
“Happy are those who are spiritually poor, for they will see God.”
“Happy are those who are humble for they will receive what God has promised.”
“Happy are those who are merciful to others for God will be merciful to them.”
“Happy are those who are pure in heart for they will see God.”
These are the kind of happiness guidelines that may not be a part of the course on positive psychology offered in universities. But millions of Christians, many of them we now call saints, have proven that they actually work.
C. L. James in his book To See a World in a Grain of Sand tells the fable of a wise old cat who notices a kitten chasing its tail. “Why are you chasing your tail?” said the wise old cat. The kitten replied, “I have learned the best thing for a cat is happiness and happiness is my tail. Therefore, I am chasing it and when I catch it, I shall have happiness.” The wise old cat responded, “My son, I too have judged that happiness is my tail, but I notice that whenever I chase it, it keeps running away from me. But when I go about my business it just seems to come after me wherever I go.”
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, most of us are old enough to realize that if we chase happiness only in material things the more we will find it elusive. But if we live our lives in God’s presence and follow his teachings as the saints did, we will realize that happiness and joy will follow us all the days of our lives here on earth and for all eternity in heaven.