So anyone here like to be tidy? Anyone not? So I’ve started reading the works of Marie Kondo. She is the current Queen of Tidy and is reminding Westerners of the importance of simplicity. The key, she says, is to only keep what sparks joy.
This is a great idea. But there is a small problem. The joy doesn’t last. The stuff comes to an end. And it is never enough.
Luckily there is one alternative: God is enough, and God does not come to an end. And God wants us to be happy. Rejoice and be glad; your reward is great in heaven. Do you believe that?
Because we can have doubts. If God wants me to be happy why am I suffering? We know God wants us to be happy because the whole Christ dying and raising thing is for you. He didn’t do it for himself. It wasn’t like Jesus had nothing to do one day and said to the Father, Hey Father, I want to leave this perfect peace and love and go and have thirty-three years amongst sin and pain. This is part of the point of the second reading. For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, you are still in your sins. And what is more serious, all who have died in Christ have perished. If our hope in Christ has been for this life only, we are the most unfortunate of all people. But Christ has in fact been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep.
And this suffering and death thing wasn’t just a show. It was to put in place a way back into the life of the Trinity. This is why Christianity is important. This is why we are here today. Not because I love the church building and want to donate, or because I love the priest, or because my parents tell me. We are here because we want to be saved, and Jesus offers that . That is why there is a Catholic Church at all: the Catholic Church is God’s way of saving us from eternal separation from him, setting us free and restoring to us the happiness that each of our hearts desires. This is the point of the First reading: ‘A blessing on the man who puts his trust in the Lord, with the Lord for his hope. He is like a tree by the waterside that thrusts its roots to the stream: when the heat comes it feels no alarm, its foliage stays green; it has no worries in a year of drought, and never ceases to bear fruit.’
Is that what you want? Happiness and joy and freedom no matter what happens and no matter what evil happens? Then give your lives totally over to God: why hesitate? As Teresa of Avila teaches us, if we have given our will over to God, what have we to worry about? Because as Jesus points out in the Gospel today, I am good, you know. Why do you fear me? Abandon everything for me, and you will be abandoning all that is temporary and unsatisfying for unlimited, pure good.
How can we do this? I’m glad you asked that question:
- pray every day: if you aren’t doing this you are missing the best of life.
- go to mass every Sunday: I know, it’s too short compared to God’s generosity.
- go to confession once a month: it’s a good minimum.
- be patient and kind to all: and you will already be a long way to true love
Do these things and you will start finding lasting happiness.