St. Augustine shares this secret with us: “People go to great lengths to admire the majesty of mountains, the power of the waves of the sea, the beauty of waterfalls, the vastness of the oceans, the revolution of the planets, but they never pause to wonder .. at the mystery of their own hearts.“(Confessions, 10: 8,15)
We all want to find happiness. Jesus told us we will find true joy, the real joy of the heart. However, He warns us that the path is steep, the conditions hard and the price high. We must use the gifts His Father has given us to overcome all these obstacles.
To be truly happy we must let go and abandon ourselves to God’s love. The secret of true happiness is LOVE.
From last Sunday, we remember Jesus’ words about a prophet never being accepted in his own country: He’s not free from local prejudice either (“He’s only the son of a carpenter, after all!”); He’s not above the normal, haphazard way that people look at other people and events. People get tangled in His roots, His “seed and breed” – they can’t see the wood for the trees. They complain that Jesus never seems to work any “local” miracles while, at the same time, more or less letting Him know that, even if He did, they wouldn’t believe Him anyway.
The harsh reality of the Nazareth experience seems a world away from Paul’s magnificent description of love in today’s second reading: “Love is always patient and kind: it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offence, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.”
The quality of love “to endure whatever comes” can be seen throughout Jesus’ whole ministry. If love is always patient and kind, it will have to face impatience and unkindness. If love is always ready to excuse, it will always have to face those who are prompt to condemn. If love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins, then it will have to face those who delight in the weaknesses of others.
Love has a tough programme. We know that from experience. But what else can meet rejection with such endurance and greatness?
We are asked to read the Gospels so that we, too, can go out and explain their meaning to others. This involves us both in talking to, and showing, others how to follow Jesus’ own example. He wants us to help the poor, look after the sick, be a guide to those who can’t help themselves, and assist those who can’t enjoy life fully for one reason or another.