Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time ~ 23 September 2018
JOY AND HUMOUR
Christian joy is usually accompanied by a sense of humour. We see this clearly, for example, in Saint Thomas More, Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Philip Neri. Ill humour is no sign of holiness. “Remove vexation from our mind” (Ecclesiastes11:10). “We receive so much from the Lord for our enjoyment” (1Timothy 6:17), that sadness can be a sign of ingratitude. We can get so caught up in ourselves that we are unable to recognise God’s gifts..
With the love of a father, God tells us: “My son, treat yourself well… Do not deprive yourself of a happy day” (Sirach14:11.14). He wants us to be positive, grateful and uncomplicated: “In the day of prosperity, be joyful… God created human beings straightforward, but they have devised many schemes.” (Ecclesiastes 7:14.29). Whatever the case, we should remain resilient and imitate Saint Paul. “I have learnt to be content with what I have” (Philippians 4:11).
Saint Francis of Assisi lived by this; he could be overwhelmed with gratitude before a piece of hard bread, or joyfully praise God simply for the breeze that caressed his face. This is not the joy held out by today’s individualistic and consumerist culture.
Consumerism only bloats the heart. It can offer occasional and passing pleasures, but not joy. Here I am speaking of a joy lived in communion, which shares and is shared, since “there is more happiness in giving than in receiving” (Acts 20:35) and “God loves a cheerful giver”(2 Corinthians 9:7).
Fraternal love increases our capacity for joy, since it makes us capable of rejoicing in the good of others: “Rejoice with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15). “We rejoice when we are weak and you are strong.” (2 Corinthians 13:9). On the other hand, when we “focus primarily on our own needs, we condemn ourselves to a joyless existence”. Pope Francis Gaudete Et Exsultate.
Blessings ~ Msgr Paul Farmer
St Benedict’s Church