Reflection on Sunday Readings – Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Everybody wants to be happy. Each one of us is trying to find ways to be happy. Unfortunately, very few among us are trying the right way.
Happiness is not found in power and money. These might make us feel good, feel important, but are unable to make us happy. It is reported that the powerful ruler of North Korea, K.J U. once in a while has a sequence of depression. He cannot eat, sleep and he is crying like a baby. Happiness in not found in fame. How many actors or actresses end up taking their lives, after years of using drugs to cope with dissatisfaction? Happiness in not found in material goods. The more we get, the more we want and we accumulate things to the point of not having enough space to move around, and we are still looking.
We can be happy in a good relationship, but it cannot be perfect all the way, all the time. Jesus teaches us a way. But it’s, as Saint Therese the Little Flower puts it, for little ones, for those who are able to consider themselves as humble as little children. They don’t need a lot to be happy.
Pope Francis talked about happiness not long ago. He stated:
“Remember that to be happy is not to have a sky without  a storm, a road without accidents, work without fatigue, relationships without disappointments. To be happy is to find strength in forgiveness, hope in battles, security in the stage of fear, love in discord. It is not only to enjoy the smile, but also to reflect on the sadness. It is not only to celebrate the successes, but to learn from the failures. It is not only to feel happy with the applause, but to be happy in anonymity. Being happy is not a fatality of destiny but an achievement for those who can travel within themselves. To be happy is to stop feeling like a victim and become your destiny’s author. It is to cross deserts, yet to be able to find an oasis in the depths of our soul. It is to thank God for every morning, for the miracle of life. Being happy is not being afraid of your own feelings. It is to be able to talk about you. It is having the courage to hear a ”no”. It is confidence in the face of criticism, even when unjustified. It is to kiss your children, pamper your parents, to live poetic moments with friends, even when they hurt us.  To be happy is to let live the creature that lives in each one of us, free, joyful and simple. It is to have the maturity to be able to say, “I made mistakes”. It is to have the courage to say “I am sorry”. It is to have the sensitivity to say “I need you”, the ability to say “ I love you”.
May your life become a garden of opportunities for happiness, that in winter may be a lover of wisdom, and in spring may be a lover of joy, And when you make a mistake, start all over again. For only then will you be in love with life. You will find that to be happy is not to have a perfect life, but to use the tears to irrigate tolerance, use your losses to train patience, use your mistakes to sculptor serenity, use your pain to plaster pleasure, use obstacles to open windows of intelligence. Never give up… Never give up on people who love you. Never give up on happiness, for life is an incredible show.”
So, happiness is attainable. Each on of us can be happy. But it is not something others or things can give us, but something we give ourselves with our attitudes, our choices, our way to welcome and cope with situations in our lives. The serenity prayer, prayed every day, can help us get there little by little:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.”
Fr. Danis