Tuesday, October 24, 2006

the secret of happiness

The Gospel I prepared for last night was not the one proclaimed at Mass this morning, so I'm a bit befuddled. However, the two sync marvelously. I prepared for the Gospel for Tuesday of the 29th week in Ordinary Time in which Jesus is beginning to hint at the "end times" Gospels we'll be hearing as the liturgical year draws to a close in a few weeks: "Keep watch! You do not know when the Lord is coming." But it is not a command or recommendation to be nervous; it is an exhortation in view of a great good: Those whom the Master finds alert and awake, ready to welcome him, will find the tables turned (literally) as the Master puts on an apron and waits on them. (Honestly, all I can picture is John's image of the Lord washing the feet of his disciples, when he took off his outer robe and tied a towel at his waist.)
The Gospel we heard at Mass (perhaps it was take from the readings for the saint of the day?) was the call of Peter and Andre, James and John, the fishermen, while they were at work: "Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men!"
You see that, though these two sets of brothers were not literally keeping watch for the coming of the Lord, their hearts were "on call," and when the Master came, they were ready to welcome him. And, of course, eventually the Lord did seat them at table, feed them the Bread of Life, put on an apron and serve them.
All this helps me reflect on the secret of happiness, which we have largely lost because of sin. The secret of happiness is to give yourself away (St. Paul would say "empty yourself") in love. This is how God exists: self-giving love. But because of sin, our tendency is self-seeking love, and only with difficulty can we be convinced, a little at a time, that self-emptying is more fulfilling than self-seeking, no matter how "successful" it is! The situation with Dad, of course, is fostering this kind of reflection. I was thinking, look: the great gift of self-giving love that parenting is. And how much self-emptying it takes! (And hopefully, there's a hint of future happiness there for them!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the profound message, Sr. Ann :-) Still praying for your dad and family...

In Jesus and Mary,
Jackie G.