PART III: MAKING CHRIST BETTER KNOWN THROUGH CHARITY
Sources of Our Joy
4th Sunday of Lent, Year B - Laetare Sunday
What makes you happy? There are a number of things that make people happy. These are things that are valuable and most often people are attached to. The attachment is so deep that, at times, it’s hard to let go.
In the list below, you'll find top 10 factors that make people happy. What does not seem to make people happy are money, material possessions, intelligence, education, age, gender or attractiveness (See Link for a more detailed description of each factor):
1. Family and relationships - The happiest people spend time with those they love including family, partners or friends. Intimacy with others fulfils two basic human needs – the need for social connections with others of our kind, and the need for personal growth, which makes us feel fully alive.
2. Meaningful work -We are happiest when engaged in activities that make us forget ourselves and lose track of time. We experience a sense of fulfillment when using and developing our skills, talents and abilities. When we complete a challenge or task that we are pleased with, we achieve a peak experience of self-realization and are happy with our achievement. For that short time we have achieved self-actualization.
3. Positive thinking - One attitude contributing to happiness is the refusal to compare yourself with others. Be content that the house you have is “enough house” instead of envying your neighbor’s bigger house. If you really have to compare, compare down and not up. For example, Olympic bronze medalists who consider themselves lucky to get a medal are happier than silver medalists who feel that they missed the gold medal.
THE REST OF THE LIST…
6. Giving to others
8. Personal freedom
9. Good health
10. Watching TV!!!! For some, this could be at the top of their list!
We call this Sunday, Laetare Sunday, “Laetare,” which simply means “Rejoice!” and so the main theme this Sunday is about JOY. Joy is more than happiness. We can be happy getting married, but when the marriage is challenged with trials and difficulties and becomes rather cold, joy enables the married couple to cope with daily familial endeavors. Happiness brings us contentment, but joy brings us peace that enables us to appreciate our purpose even in the most challenging moments of life. For us Catholics, therefore, more than just HAPPINESS, we should not only look for something that makes us HAPPY, but ultimately LOOK for something that brings us JOY. What are our TOP 3 SOURCES OF JOY:
1. THE LOVE OF GOD. What is so special about God’s love? In the Greek language, there are three different words that refer to LOVE: 1. “Eros” meaning romantic love – a kind of love between a man and woman that leads to marriage. In this kind of love, we long to RECEIVE; 2. “Philia” meaning fellowship love – a kind of love between people who gathers together to form more like a society. Here, we long to GIVE and TAKE; and 3. “Agape” or sacrificial love – a kind of love that makes a mother risk her own life for her yet unborn child. Here, we long to GIVE even the most valuable things we have in life. The kind of love that God has for us is, of course, agape or sacrificial love. And so John 3:16 says, "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall NOT die but will HAVE ETERNAL LIFE." He gives to us even His most precious SON in order that we may have life and have it to the full. The first thing that each of us must acknowledge is that God loves us and the rest will follow suit. When we lose sight of such reality, we end up without a PURPOSE and without a purpose there is no happiness, much more, there is NO JOY! Acknowledging this kind of love, we should also share the same love for one another.
2. GOD’S UNCEASING ACT OF REDEMPTION.God has not remained passive in the face of our failures and sins. As God acted proactively, we too, are called to act in our own terms in charity. Created by a God who loves us unselfishly, we too, are called to do something. We’ve written down your Lenten commitment the past weeks to remind us that we have to practice our identity. The very identity patterned after Christ who shed His blood to save us because we are worth it! Question is: Do we act in a way to prove our worthiness?
“Making Christ Better Known through Charity,” our Lenten theme continues to exhort us to act out our knowledge of Christ through charity by being concerned for one another. Our Holy Father in fact said these very words to us: “Concern for one another likewise means acknowledging the good that the Lord is doing in others and giving thanks for the wonders of grace that Almighty God in his goodness continuously accomplishes in his children. When Christians perceive the Holy Spirit at work in others, they cannot but rejoice and give glory to the heavenly Father.” (cf. Mt 5:16)
In other words, as God’s unceasing act of redemption brings us joy, we also find them from others when we extend it to our brothers and sisters in need. Indeed, “No greater love [joy] than this than to share one’s life for one’s friends” John 15:13.
3. Finally, THE THIRD SOURCE OF JOY IS FOUND IN APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION. The gift of the priesthood is such a wonderful gift to mankind. Priests of today tell us of the Good News proclaimed thousands of years ago, the Good News of God’s love to mankind that we continue to cherish. Without priests, the community is like a fold without a shepherd; without priests there is no Eucharist to celebrate; and more importantly, without priests no one could tell the STORY in the same way as they do being a sacrament themselves.
This coming Saturday, for Chrism Mass, one of the highlights of the liturgy is the renewal of the priests of the diocese of their priestly vows. This is an annual liturgical event that we should all take part. Let us support our priests and accept them with joy. The ministry of priesthood is not an easy task and must also be exercised not simply with happiness but with joy. It is for this reason, that this Sunday as an action response, we would like to ask our parishioners to pick a name of a priest in our diocese in a designated space where you could pick them and pray for them throughout lent. Through your prayers, they will continue to be inspired of how noble their priesthood is and will continue to share their gifts WITH JOY.
So what makes you happy? That’s no longer the question. The question is, what makes you joyful?
Link for Top 10 Factors that Make People Happy
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