Jesus' Description of Blessing and Happiness

Homily for the Sixth Sunday Year C

by Fr. Tommy Lane

Who would ever have thought that the poor would be blessed, that the hungry would be blessed, that those who weep would be blessed? If Jesus says that is blessed then obviously Jesus is teaching us that real and genuine blessing and happiness is something other than the common understanding of happiness and blessing. The world today says happiness includes lots of money, foreign holidays, a big house, and a whole host of other things many of which are sinful. We could almost say that our world today is addicted to greed and sin. There is a big deception in the world. People are being tricked into thinking that possessing and having will bring happiness. People are being fed lies and believe it. And all lies come from the devil. The devil is luring people with great promises and expectations of happiness but they are empty promises and lies.

Again, if Jesus says that the poor will be blessed, that the hungry will be blessed, that those who weep will be blessed, that those who are hated and driven out because of him will be blessed obviously Jesus is teaching us that real and genuine blessing and happiness is something other than the common understanding of happiness and blessing. What is Jesus’ understanding of happiness and blessing? We could say it like this; there is no happiness outside of the will of God. St. Augustine said,

“You have made us for yourself O Lord
and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

God has made our human hearts and so we will be happy only when filled by God. Our being from its first moment is directed towards God, orientated towards God, and if we deny this or try to find God elsewhere we will not be happy or have the blessedness Jesus is talking of. That is why it would be impossible to meet a person possessed by greed who is also happy. It would be impossible to meet a person taken over by lust who is happy. Lust can never contribute to happiness because lust always wants to manipulate, control, cajole other people, to trick and con them. Paul wrote in our second reading today,

“If our hope…has been for this life only we are the most unfortunate of all people.” (1 Cor 15:19)

And our first reading stated,

A curse on the man who puts his trust in man,
who relies on the things of flesh.” (Jer 17:5)

The only thing that will bring happiness is to love and be loved, and by love I mean the pure form of love we see in Jesus which sacrifices ourselves for the benefit of the other. One of the signs of a Christian is being joyful. St. Francis said it is for the devil and his ilk to be sad and for us to be joyful. There is only one sadness in life, not to be a saint. A saint is someone who loves God very much and is convinced that God loves him/her. How do we achieve the happiness of the saints? How can we achieve the blessing and happiness Jesus is talking of in the Gospel where to all outward appearances if someone were to look at us we are a mess but are happy in our hearts? There is one way to achieve that happiness. If you want that experience, focus on the crucifix. Jesus would have come from heaven to die just for you. There is no one who loves you and has loved you like Jesus. Spend time with Jesus looking up at him on the cross contemplating his love for you. Find your happiness in Jesus, then you will be really happy and blessed. As our first reading stated,

“A blessing on the man who puts his trust in the Lord,
with the Lord for his hope.” (Jer 17:7)

If you do not have the joy of a Christian ask yourself is it because you have given yourself to some of the false promises and illusions and deceptions of the world which are pulling you down. If you have, ask God for the grace to abandon them and give yourself to God so that you can be happy.

A curse on the man who puts his trust in man,
who relies on the things of flesh….
A blessing on the man who puts his trust in the Lord,
with the Lord for his hope.” (Jer 17:5)

“If our hope…has been for this life only we are the most unfortunate of all people.” (1 Cor 15:19)

“You have made us for yourself O Lord
and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2013

This homily was delivered when I was engaged in parish ministry in Ireland before joining the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

More homilies for the Sixth Sunday Year C

Blessed are you who are poor...Our cross draws us closer to God 2007
Related Homilies: Jesus’ Prescription for Happiness - the Beatitudes

The Beatitudes were lived perfectly by Jesus 2008
Are You Happy?

Only Jesus is Our Treasure

stories about about reversals

stories: difficulty of teaching the Beatitudes

stories: dialogue on the Beatitudes