Return of the Seventy Two
I read a Recipe for Happiness which I got from the Ohio State Grange Monthly, quoted in The Speaker’s Handbook, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, U.S.A. It says: “Take equal parts of faith and courage, mix well with a sense of humor, sprinkle with a few tears and add a helping of kindness for others. Bake in a good-natured oven and dust with laughter. Scrape away any self-indulgence that is apparent and serve with generous helpings.”
What does happiness or the joy of the Lord might help us? The Bible tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength (Neh. 8:10). But Jesus tells His disciples not to take joy in their own successes, even if these are spiritual ones. He said: “Do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” In other words Jesus is telling that let us be glad because we are citizens in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus makes clear also that the true source of our joy is God and God alone and not in successes. Regardless of the circumstances, in good times and in bad times, in success or loss, God always assures us of victory in Jesus Christ. Jesus assures His disciples that He has all power over evil, including the power of Satan. He even gave us spiritual authority and power for overcoming the works of evil (1 John 2:13-14).
One of the joys that God has given us, as citizens of His Kingdom, is to know Him even in a very limited way. Yes it is true that we cannot know Him fully and exactly. Even St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) has this statement in his Summa Theologica. He said, “In this life our minds cannot grasp what God is in Himself; whatever way we have of thinking of Him is a way of failing to understand Him as He really is,” (I,q.13,a.11c). But we should not lose hope even if Jesus says, “No one knows…who the Father is,” (v. 22). It is because Jesus Himself also said that, “….except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal Him.” This means that, says the 365 Days with the Lord 2007, God is no longer an enigma, a blank wall, a locked door. Jesus is our answer to the enigma, the door to the wall, the key to the locked door. Through Him we can know God. That alone shows how great a privilege and a grace it is to be a Christian.
One priest said and I quote word for word what he said, that Jesus thanks the Father in heaven for revealing to His disciples the wisdom and knowledge of God. What does Jesus’ prayer tell us about God and about ourselves? First, it tells us that God is both Father and Lord of earth as well as heaven. He is Creator and Author of all that He has made, the First Origin of everything and transcendent authority and at the same time, goodness and loving care for all His children. All fatherhood and motherhood is derived from Him (Eph 3:14-15). Jesus’ prayer also contains a warning that pride can keep us from the love and knowledge of God. What makes us ignorant and blind to the things of God? Sinful pride springs from exaggerated self-centeredness. It closes the mind to God’s truth and wisdom for our lives. The angels fell into pride and were cast out of heaven. The virtue of humility, the only true remedy against false pride and which is very different from the feelings of inferiority and low self- esteem, leads us to a true recognition of who we are in God and of our dependence on God.
At the end let us pray: “Dear Jesus, we love you for the gifts you have given us and we share in the joy you have when we are faithful. The truth is we are never happier than when we are close to you. Give us the grace to persevere always. Amen.”
OPTION 01, 02, 03,