The Word of God

The Happiness Trap


Reflection on Mass Reading for November 20, 2021

Theme for November: “When we focus on our gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of love rushes in.” Kristin Armstrong

“I know that this is why these evils have overtaken me; and now I am dying, in bitter grief, in a foreign land.” There are more than just a few people who have wondered what may sound to others to be unthinkable: is it possible that pursuing happiness is a cause of sour, distasteful unhappiness? Perhaps in all of Scripture, there can be found no more perfect of a focus group to highlight those who fall into a happiness trap than the sad group (no pun intended) in today’s Gospel Reading: “Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and put this question to him…” You see, the real clue here as to why these people are so miserable is because they do not hope for or believe in the Resurrection. How sad for the Sadducees! (pun intended)

“You are greatly misled.” This is not a phrase you nor I would ever want to hear from Jesus, which is why we are so richly blessed to have the Word nourish us today. The Resurrection of Christ is everything. Life would not be worth living if we did not realize that a much better eternal life was simply waiting for us when our time approaches. Today, lift your head and shake off any regrets or sadness that could lead you to take your focus off the great Miracle of the Resurrection of Jesus. Commit this phrase to memory as you may never know when you might need it for yourself or to share it with someone who needs it even more: “He is not God of the dead but of the living.”

“The more we try to avoid the basic reality that all human life involves pain, the more we are likely to struggle with that pain when it arises, thereby creating even more suffering.” Russ Harris

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