Fr Thomas’ Homily for the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

How to be happy

The tension between the old order and the new has been the contention of Australia Day rhetoric for some years.  All agree that it is time to redefine our national heritage and refine our vision for the future.  Such a redefining was required when Jesus announced the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven. The beatitudes in Matthew (5:1-12) teaches about the character and vision of the participants in the Kingdom.  What Jesus taught here is as authoritative as that of Moses to the Jews.  ‘Jesus going up the mountain, sitting down, and teaching,’ is Matthew’s way of painting Moses typology for Jesus.

Moses lead the Hebrew people to freedom.  Jesus leads his disciples through something more than freedom; to happiness.

Most of the teachings in the sermon on the mount of Jesus were incompatible with how people think of happiness.  If you think ‘hard work’ and ‘believing in ourselves’ bring happiness, you are mistaken. We do not acquire happiness through our own will power and hard work.  It is God who provides happiness. For that we need to have our hearts and minds open to God.  The four qualities of  the happy disciples are Poverty of Spirit, Gentleness, a preparedness to mourn with those who are persecuted and a hunger for Justice.

Similarly, being proactive about the Kingdom of God is also important.  We need to be prepared to show mercy.  As Christians, our minds are to be fully focused on God.  The Gospel calls it the purity of heart.  To be happy and to be included in the Kingdom of Heaven, one has to be prepared to create peace and show willingness to love God at all costs.

In our pursuit of happiness, let’s be mindful of these are great insights.   Read the beatitudes (Mt 5:1-12) reflectively and see how much of these teachings apply to your life as a disciple of Christ.