“Amen. Amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”
In Sacred Scripture the word happiness is almost never used. I remember reading long ago happiness rather than blessed for the Beatitudes and it was quickly removed in a later edition. There is a huge difference between the two: happiness may be pursued but joy comes as a surprise. Happiness is of man’s doing. Joy comes from the Holy Spirit.
Yesterday I celebrated a funeral Mass for a woman who had been married for forty-six years. Her husband and two children were in the front row and in pain at the loss of their beloved mother. She was young, only sixty-five years old. What do you say? What can anyone say? At times like these, we can only turn to the Lord and to His Word. Is it possible that the grief we experience today will one day turn to joy?The Apostles could no longer bear to hear Christ speak. He had so much more to tell them but his words were like daggers in their hearts. All the Lord’s men felt anxiety, fear and sadness at what the Lord was telling them. He would be leaving them; taken away and would not be returning to them until the appropriate moment. Why does this have to happen? Why do bad things have to happen to good people, even to the Lord? Today’s responsorial psalm reminds us: “God is King of all the earth!” (Ps 47:8a)
The Lord directs life and death; our take off and our landing; our arrival and our departure. He is the King, the Master of the Universe and of my life. He is King of the gigantic and of the tiny; the insignificant and the significant; the coincidence and the planned. We are here because He wants us here now, today. We will be gone, when our time has arrived – not a day longer or shorter.
I have found tremendous joy in thinking about all the people that have come and gone in my life. Think of all the people - past or present, dead or alive - that inspired you, pushed you and maybe even embarrassed you to get the best out of you! Life is so similar to the sea. We have high moments like tidal waves, thrilling and chilling. We have low moments like low tide or like the calm before the tsunami! Like the sea, we are constantly preparing for the next moment. We seem to get up and get out of bed only when we have to. If it were not for exams, we would learn less. Tough times lead to tough decisions that lead to heart felt decisions and amazing results!
The Lord will be with his friends, always. We will all meet again someday. As the Lord’s followers begin the life of an Apostle, they will continuously return to the Lord. When they have to make a tough decision in their life, they will remember what the Lord said. When they have to bear the burdens of a life dedicated to Him, they will return in the Spirit to Him and do what He did.
He will not be far from them in mind, body and soul. “No one will take your joy away from me. On that day you will not question me about anything.”
Let us prepare for this day. Let us not question the Lord in anything. He loves us. He died for us. He will come again for us. No one, as hard as they try, will ever be able to take this joy away from us that comes to us from the one who gave it all for us.
The Lord taught us that joy cannot be pursued, it can only be given. Come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of your faithful people with joy. Amen.