Homily for All Saints Day
What would make you really happy? Now there is a good question. How would you answer it? How would your children answer it?
For the young, and sometimes not so young, happiness is often about what we own, or can afford. It is about pleasure and enjoyment. It is about comfort and choice. It is about freedom.
As we get older, happiness often resides in our wishes for others. It is about the well being of our children. Happiness is in the healing of family rifts. It is about our aspirations for those who will outlive us.
Jesus presents us with a rather shocking idea of happiness. Happy are those who mourn, who are poor, who are persecuted. Happiness, in other words, is not about our own comfort, or even the comfort of others. Happiness is not about what is easy, but about what is hard, not about what is comfortable, but about what is true.
Is this really the same word? Can Jesus really be telling us how to be happy?
Yes. It is, and he is. Because any idea of happiness which is based on our own needs, our own comfort, our pleasure or enjoyment, will be short lived and temporary. The search for pleasure will never be satisfied, because it always yearns for more.
Happiness lies not in desiring what we haven't got - that is called covetousness - but in rejoicing in what we already have: that is called sanctity.
The saints are happy in sorrow or hardship because they were not searching for a passing pleasure, or enjoyment, but instead found a true happinesss in what was already around them.