Sing and shout for joy, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel
The philosopher Friedrich Nietzche is credited for coining the phrase “Death of God.” He is also believed to have said: “If you Christians would only come out of church smiling, I just might become a Christian myself.”
This coming Sunday is “Gaudete Sunday”, a day of rejoicing. In the anxiety-laden season of Advent, the third Sunday appears pleasantly unique. Today’s responsorial psalm, for example, summons us to “sing and shout for joy, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” The second reading also bids us the same: “I want you to be very happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness” (Phil 4:4).
How do we regard the importance of happiness in our lives? How badly do we need it? Well, it is essential enough that people are willing to spend thousands of dollars to travel to some parts of the world, build extravagant houses, organize or attend lavish parties, own expensive possessions – all in search of happiness.
There are many things that can make a person happy. Yet, there are also many things that can make a person unhappy. Oftentimes, it is what we have or see or hear that make us unhappy. It is not always that we become unhappy because of what we do not have. In several instances, it is our inability to achieve balance between having and not having that makes us unhappy.
The Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso, once made an assertion, saying that “the meaning of life is finding your gift, and the purpose of life is to give it away.” I may add that happiness is when the finding leads to giving, and the meaning to purpose.
There was once a story about a bunch of tiny frogs who had arranged a running competition. The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower. A big crowd gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants.
The race began…
No one in the crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower. They shouted, “Oh, way too difficult!!! They will NEVER make it to the top” and “Not a chance. The tower is too high”.
The tiny frogs began collapsing, one by one except for those who, in a fresh tempo, were climbing higher and higher….
The crowd continued to yell, “It’s too difficult! No one will make it!”
More tiny frogs got tired and gave up… but one continued higher and higher. This one wouldn’t give up!
And he reached the top.
Everyone wanted to know how this one frog managed such a great feat.
His secret? This little frog was deaf!
Lacking something could mean being blessed with what is more important. Not having many things could open doors for us to appreciate the true worth of who we are and what we are capable of. It comes as no wonder that the poor are oftentimes more generous than the wealthy ones. They are happier, too, and closer to God.
This Advent, let us be thankful to God both for what he has given us and what he has not given us, and let us be simply happy with Him.
Fr Gerald Binegas RCJ
Fr Gerald, Assistant Priest, and Parish Priest, Fr Rene Ramirez RCJ are serving the partnered parishes of Christ the King, Braybrook and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Maidstone. Their mission is the first for the Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus in Australia.