Becoming Happy In Life 29TH JANUARY, 2017
In life, there are many things we do which make us happy. For some, their happiness is dependent on going to the beach to party with friends; for others, their happiness is dependent on watching a crucial football match (Hearts of Oak vs Asante Kotoko etc) and for others, surfing the internet, dancing to music or going for an excursion. When we analyse the above carefully, we begin to realise that the happiness we derive from the above-mentioned activities are only temporal. In other words, we are happy for a moment and then at the next moment our happiness is gone and there is sadness. This cannot be said to be true happiness in the real sense of the word. Can happiness be eternal? How can awe attain everlasting happiness? In the Gospel reading (Matthew 5:1-12), Jesus Christ proposes to us a new dimension to happiness. This is not a temporal form of happiness, but a permanent form of happiness. It is a form of happiness which is without end. To obtain this happiness requires some actions from a person and all these actions can be identified in the personality of Jesus Christ. They are not multiple choice–pick what you like and leave the rest. They are to be taken as a whole. They describe what we should be like as followers of Jesus Christ. The New Testament defines this happiness as the ‘BEATITUDES” meaning “BLESSED OR HAPPY.”
The Beatitudes can be understood in at least four ways: they are a code of ethics for the disciples and a standard of conduct for all believers; they contrast Kingdom values (what is eternal) with worldly values (what is temporal); they contrast the superficial faith of the Pharisees with the real faith demanded by Jesus and they show how the Old Testament expectations will be fulfilled in the new kingdom. To be poor in spirit is not a matter of being impoverished materially, but realizing the need of God in your life, being humble, detaching of the self from material possessions and attaching the self to Jesus. Mourning is the lot of Christians who strive to remain faithful in the face of opposition. These people suffer greatly because they are the victims of oppression (we can make reference to the Saints). Meekness does not connote timidity, but being gentle, patient and calm. This is a mark of a lamb (remember John referring to Jesus as the Lamb of God). The intensity of man’s desire for goodness or righteousness is also expressed when Jesus says “Happy are those who hunger and thirst for what is right.” Our yearning for goodness should be as strong as our yearning for food and drink. In the Hebrew language, mercy means the ability to get right inside the other person’s skin until we can see things with the eyes, think according to the person’s mind and feel according to the person’s feelings. Being merciful goes beyond an emotional wave of pity, but a sympathy which comes from a deliberate identification with the other person. Purity of heart means unmixed, unadulterated and unalloyed heart.
This is necessary for salvation. In the Bible, peace does not just mean absence of war, but justice, health and happiness. The Christian attitude towards peace is based on the nature of God who is the fullest expression of peace. If God is peaceful, why remain violent? Our resolve for peace should not be verbal, but practical. The last of the beatitudes recalls the first with reference to the Kingdom. Jesus make it clear that struggle is not failure. Persecution will not deter the coming of the new world. The progress of the kingdom will be slow, but irresistible. Do you want to be happy? Try the above –mentioned ways and eternal happiness will be yours.
BY: REV. FR. ELVIS MENSAH