THEME: HE WHO LAUGHS LAST….
BY: Fr. Christian Eze
First reading – Jer 17:5-8
Second reading – 1 Cor 15:12, 16-20
Gospel – Lk 6:17, 20-26
An important reality to note is the fact that suffering is not sweet. Taking it straight, good health is preferred to sickness, joy is more acceptable than sorrow, success is more interesting than failure, riches are more cherished than poverty; and we can continue the thesis and antithesis. What we must confess not being so comfortable with is Jesus’ standard of “Blessedness” as we read in today’s gospel. The yardstick Jesus gave as the measures of being blessed are things so detestable in human standard that we can easily identify them as curses rather than blessings.
To be “blessed” is to be “happy”. Some versions of the Bible use the expression “happy are those”….If we therefore replace the word “blessed” with “happy” in the expressions “Blessed are you poor”, “Blessed are you that hunger”, “Blessed are you that weep”, “Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil”, we can then ask the questions: how can one be happy who is poor? How can one be happy who is hungry? How can one be weeping and still be happy? How can one be rejoicing when rejected, hated or cast out? There must be something more in the beatitudes than the ordinary human language.
At this point, it becomes important to note that Jesus never left the “controversial blessedness” unexplained. In what followed, He said why such bitter moments should be preferred. Such reasons include the fact that there is truly endless joy at last. Consider the happiness of: …”yours is the kingdom of God” “you shall be satisfied” “you shall laugh” “your reward is great in heaven”, these are states of happiness that does not know any end. The fact is that the road to true happiness is not always joyful at the beginning. The best way is not always the easy way, and the short cuts of life might often have adverse effects.
It is painful that humanity treasures quick enjoyment more than taking pains that would bring lasting joy. Rather than labouring in dignified jobs, people would cheat, rob, steal, engage in ritual killing or drug trafficking in order to make it fast. Rather than getting married responsibly, some would prefer casual relationship here and there without being committed. Rather than thinking of the future of our children, some would sell their votes for N200 Ijebu garri. Man can offer us what is called “creature comfort” that does not last but God let’s us pass through the wilderness in order to bring us to the promised land. Creature comfort could be quick but deadly. A Divine comfort could be subtle, painful but ever lasting. Those who sought creature comfort in the history of the bible lost out and regretted. Esau sought momentary food appetite and wept over his sold birthright. Samson sought a few minutes creature comfort in Delilah and lost his eyes, life and mission in the hands of the Philistine. King David sought the short fun of adultery and laid the sword for Israel till today. Judas Iscariot wanted a quick money and his office another took. No wonder, the first reading told us that the real curse is to put our trust in man who is a creature. The second reading tells us that SORRY is our name if our hope were in anything of this world.
If we also check, those who were truly blessed in biblical history never found it quick and easy. Abraham the father of blessings had to go through the pains of childless years. Our Mother Mary who “all generations must continue to call BLESSED” truly had a sword pierce through her soul. Indeed, for the world, the game is “sharp sharp”, early bird catches the prey (and I add) and then falls a prey. But for God, the watch word is HE WHO LAUGHS LAST LAUGHS BEST. Your endurance shall win you your life.
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