Happiness Cannot Be Bought

    About 400 years ago, Galileo argued that Aristotle's theory on gravity was incorrect. According to Aristotle, if you dropped one object weighing ten pounds and another weighing one pound from the same height, the ten pound object would fall ten times faster than the other. Questioning the greatest ancient authority in science and philosophy, Galileo claimed that both objects would fall at the same speed. But people thought that Galileo was a little crazy. So Galileo climbed up the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy and dropped two objects, one heavier than the other, over the edge. To the amazement of the crowd, the heavier object did not fall faster than the lighter one.

    You too may have dismissed as wrong, or possibly even stupid, something like this. But later you came to find out that it was actually true. Well, the Beatitudes announced by Jesus in today's Gospel might not seem right to us because we equate happiness with power, influence, wealth, health, and beauty.

    So many people never find happiness because they do not know where to look for it. Too many people make the mistake of seeking one more material thing, one more pay raise, one more promotion, one more problem solved, one more handicap overcome. "If only I had that," they often say, "I would be happy." Too late they learn that happiness does not come from the outside, but from within. Even the wealthiest man cannot buy contentment or peace of mind. That is the first thing that is evident as we view the Beatitudes. Happiness is not synonymous with the pursuit of pleasure.

    I like a story of a preacher who met two little boys. After greeting them, he said, "Boys, would you like to go to heaven?" "Yes, sir!" one responded immediately. "No, sir," the other boy said honestly. Surprised by such honesty, the preacher asked, "Son, do you mean that you don't want to go to heaven?" "I'd like to go eventually, "replied the boy, "but I thought you were getting up a load to go today." Many people think happiness and heaven are things that are going to come immediately. The truth is that you have to strive for it in righteous ways for it to ultimately come.

    The blessing that you get from living the Beatitudes is the possession of "the Kingdom of God." Let us make a personal declaration of dependence on God to receive our true blessing.

In the Service of the Lord,
  Fr Thainese Alphonse


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St. Bernadette Catholic Church