for the twenty-sixth Sunday of the Year
Ez 18:25-28 - Ph 2:1-11 - Mt 21:28-32
by Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
The happiness of man and the Will of God
Ez 18:25, «Yet you say, The way of the Lord is not just. Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? 26, When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die for it; for the iniquity which he has committed he shall die. 27, Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is lawful and right, he shall save his life. 28, Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions which he had committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.»
Ph 2:1, So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any incentive of love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3, Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. 4, Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5, Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8, And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. 9, Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, 10, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Mt 21:28, Jesus said to the Jews: «What do you think? A man had two sons; and he went to the first and said, `Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' 29, And he answered, `I will not,' but afterward he repented and went. 30, And he went to the second and said the same; and he answered, `I go, sir,' but did not go. 31, Which of the two did the will of his father?» They said, «The first.» Jesus said to them, «Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. 32, For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him.»
Man is always searching for happiness. Christians in particular are in search of happiness. Sometimes, Christianity is even referred to as the religion of happiness. But what kind of happiness is it? If we were speaking of worldly happiness, and if we claimed that Christianity would bring such happiness, then how is it that, in certain parts of the world, churches are attended so little? Why are our churches not full if Christianity were intended to bring man worldly happiness, in this life?
Let there be no mistake! There is happiness, and then there is happiness. There is worldly happiness, and there is celestial happiness. Remember what the Most Blessed Virgin Mary told Saint Bernadette Soubirous, the visionary of Lourdes: "I do not promise to make you happy in this life, but in the next." Just as others have proclaimed in different words, saying, for example: "One does not go to heaven by carriage!" Which means: true happiness is that of Heaven, and we obtain it only if we have undergone trials in this earthly life.
The reason for all of this is that true happiness is obtained only by carrying out the Will of God, and not our own. In certain cases, the Will of God is easy to accomplish; in others, it is not. This is what makes our life on earth sometimes painful and tedious. But even if the Will of God may seem difficult to accomplish, we always have the grace of God with us, ready to help us with its omnipotence. For it is the grace of the dead and risen Jesus! This means that, through this grace, Jesus himself helps us to follow him in his Passion so we might attain the glory and happiness of his Resurrection!
Jesus is there, with us, in our midst. He said so: "I am with you always, to the close of the age." (Mt 28:20) It is from there that we get all our strength, and it is also from there that comes our happiness, not an earthly happiness, but rather a celestial happiness, a beginning of the eternal Happiness that God promises to share with us in Heaven. Let us note that the happiness of Heaven begins on earth, but, inversely, unfortunately, the hell of the damned also begins on earth. Either we accept to do the Will of God on earth, and are already happy on earth, with Jesus; or we refuse to do the Will of God on earth, and are already unhappy on earth, without Jesus. May everyone listen to their conscience and follow it!
With Jesus, we form a whole, his mystical Body: the Church. The Head of this great Body, which is Jesus, is already risen. The members of this great Body are still undergoing their Passion, as they await their own resurrection, but in union, whether more or less intimate, with the already dead and already risen Jesus. This hope in the resurrection, and this contact, through faith and charity, with the risen Jesus, constitute the only source of authentic happiness, that happiness which is the true and unique happiness of man and Christian!
Men of the entire world, women of all the universe, Christians from everywhere, let us be, and become ever more, men of the true and unique happiness! Let us do the Will of God, let us keep his commandments! May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary watch over each one of us! Amen!