Homily for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Theme: How blessed are you.
By: Fr. Clem C. Aladi
Homily for Sunday, February 17 2019
*True Christian happiness can be found only in living the beatitudes, not in material possessions, power or authority.*
My dearest brothers and sisters we are indeed privileged to be here in the presence of God on this sixth Sunday of the ordinary time. The readings of today’s remind us that true happiness, our beautitude comes from sharing our blessings with our brothers and sisters and in acknowledging God’s presence in our lives who strengthens us and motivates us to do every good thing. Let us come to the realization that that wealth, health, power and influence are not the source of true happiness but the interior peace with God in sharing with the poor and gladly accepting our crosses in life for Christ’s sake.
The word “beatitude” means “blessedness” in a double sense: both enjoying God’s favour and enjoying true or supreme happiness. Everyone wants to be happy. Today God offers us the recipe for true and everlasting happiness.
The first reading warns against trusting in human beings as our source of happiness. It went on to say that cursed are those who put their trust in human beings for they are like a barren bush in the desert. In contrast, it upholds those who trust in God describing them as trees planted beside waters that shows no distress in the time of drought. Many are indeed sorrowful today because they abandoned God and trusted in men for their happiness, success and blessings. They trusted in human riches, success and authority. The abandoned the ways of God and followed the dictates of men. The abandoned Jesus and followed politicians. The tragedies of life begin when our priorities are misplaced. When we plant our self in God like trees planted beside waters we can never get frustrated in life because our hope is nourished by divine love of God.
In the second reading St. Paul warns us that true beatitude is obtainable only in Heaven and that Christ’s Resurrection gives us our assurance of reaching Heaven for an everlasting life of happiness.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus instructs his disciples in the paradoxical
the blessedness of poverty, hunger, sorrow and persecution. “Blessed are those who are poor, hungry, weeping, hated, excluded, insulted and denounced,” *because, in poverty, we recognize our dependence on God; in hunger, God’s providence; in sorrow for sins, reconciliation with God; and in persecution, the true joy of standing for the Faith with heroic convictions.* What makes one blessed is not simply poverty or hunger or sadness or suffering for the Faith but living these in the context of our commitment to Jesus and his spirit of sharing. The beatitudes must be understood as eschatological statements which see and evaluate the present in terms of the future glory and everlasting happiness.
Modern society has witnessed an increased rate of suicide incidents and suicidal attempts. Happiness seems to be an elusive idea for those contemplating to die. The unbearable suffering and disappointments in life have frustrated many into thinking that life is not worth living and eternal happiness an illusion. Over-ambitiousness and failed expectations from the family, relationship and personal struggles have put many into despicable situations of despair. Faith in God’s comforting and reassuring words: ” _come to me all you who are weary and overburden and I will give you rest_ “( Mathew 11:28) can no longer be relied on by those in these dark moments of life. However, we must admit that Faith and religious belief have a role to play in helping us Christians embrace the truth that happiness in this life has nothing to do with our achievements and acquisitions. Many who commit suicide are not really impoverished, tormented or persecuted by harsh experiences of life but those who are most fortunate and highly privileged in life. No matter what the cause might be: psychological, social, economic or spiritual we must not forget that Jesus heals the body, the soul, and the mind and today He reminds us that true happiness has everything to do with our acknowledging we are children of a heavenly father who cares, so our faith in Him and our little acts of charity to others bring us true happiness. In his book _the biggest lie in the history of Christianity,_ Mathew Kelly speaks about creating holy moments. A holy moment is that one spends doing good to others and putting smiles on their faces. It is by creating holy moments that we realise the best version of ourselves – the truly happy version. The beatitudes are roadmaps to happiness in this life and in the life after. They are the recipe for realizing the best version of ourselves.
We need to respond to the challenge of the beatitudes in our daily life. Millions are starving, persecuted, homeless, and leading hopeless lives. The only way the promises of the beatitudes can become a reality for them is through the efforts of people like us. Hence, *let us remember that each time we reach out to help the needy, the sick and the oppressed, we share with them a foretaste of the promises of the beatitudes here and now.*
We need to prioritise our goals in life and choose wisely the way that leads to true happiness. The way of life and true happiness is the way to God, the way of the beatitudes, the way of rendering loving service to God in service to our brothers and sisters.
Happiness is not an elusive idea. You can truly be happy when you don’t put hope and faith in earthly things and on human beings. If you have been frustrated, look deep inside you
and reassure yourself you can be happy again. When we look up to God and put our faith in Him, He fills us with the spiritual consolation that our present predicaments are not the end of the journey. Many are persecuted for righteousness sake but they never become depressed or despondent because divine assurance is that victory will theirs in the end. *Practice self-detachment, be a peacemaker, let your heart and intentions be pure, hunger and desire for what will truly last, what is good and acceptable to God.* When we trust and hope in God’s promises, we become optimistic in every challenge of life and it is this optimism that paves the way to our happiness. Having a good time in a bar or club might make you feel better at that moment but can never guarantee you lasting happiness. In our painful experiences, we need to acknowledge that God is with us and have not abandoned us. It might be helpful offering a little help to someone you know going through difficulties as you do this might change your perception about how you feel .
God has not promised us an easy life but he promised to be with us to the end to ensure a happy ending. Our happiness in heaven begins when we create happy and holy moments in this life. Our everlasting happiness is assured when we remain faithful to the end. Don’t give up, don’t take your life. When everything fails, try one last solution and that is unflinching faith and hope in God.
May God help us to realise that true happiness comes from: living the Beatitudes, from our dependence and faith as God’s children and from sharing our blessings with others.
I keep you and your family always in my prayers.
Fr. Clem C. Aladi