Choose To Be Happy!

On my way home last Friday evening while waiting for the traffic light to turn green, a young man in the street wiped my car’s side’s window using a squeegee, a microfiber and a water sprayer. It felt just like in a car wash! Initially I thought of asking him to stop since there was a slight drizzle earlier, and it may be useless to clean at this point. However, being filled with pity I thought that while the money I’ll give him may look small for many of you, for him and family it may be a dinner for the night. He was grateful and expressed it in a thankful and prayerful kind of way.

The past few months have been characterized as fearful, anxious and worrisome. Many are catching up with lost opportunities, lost employment, and lost income. Some of you may not feel it but for a lot of people in the country and around the world, it’s as real as day and night. It is during these desperately urgent moments that actually we have no one else to turn to except to Somebody who is All-Powerful, Perfect, Omnipotent, Omniscient Originator and Ruler of the Universe, our Almighty God.

Through the Sacred Scriptures, God has assured us many times that we should “not be afraid”. Fr. Armand Robleza, SDB  mentioned in his homily today that for 386 times (that is more than the days in a year!), God has told us through the Sacred Scriptures: “Do not be afraid!”. In an optimistic note, it is about God telling us to “Choose to be happy!”

In the Gospel during this Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mt. 10: 26-3), Christ reminds us of how important we are to God the Father, 

And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid;you are worth more than many sparrows.

Fr. Armand quoted Pope Francis’ Encyclical Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and be Glad), telling us that “Joy is the new holiness” (expressed in Filipino: “Ang pagiging masaya ay tanda ng tunay na kabanalan.”). “The joyful person sees the love of God in his day-to-day living. He feels it, he is illuminated that God doesn’t forget, that God doesn’t deprive, that God isn’t quick-tempered. That God is always around, you can rely upon Him. That’s why you are confident, you have no reason to fear!” (“Nakikita niya ang pagmamahal ng Diyos sa araw-araw na buhay niya. Naramdaman niya, nababanaagan niya na ng Diyos ay hindi lumilimot, na ang Diyos hindi nagdaramot, na ang Diyos ay hindi pikon. Na ang Diyos ay laging nandiyan, maasahan mo. Kaya malakas ang loob mo. Wala kang dahilan na matakot.”)

In the First Reading (Jer. 20: 10-13), we read about the apparent misfortunes of the prophet Jeremiah,

All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine. ‘Perhaps he will be trappedthen we can prevail, and take our vengeance on him.’But the LORD is with me, like a mighty championmy persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph. In their failure they will be put to utter shame, to lasting, unforgettable confusion.”

Like in the current crisis, some of us may feel so lost, so downtrodden, so hopeless. It is an event that seems endless at this time. Anyone can feel helpless just thinking about it. Yet it isn’t time to sulk and cry. We have to do our share in helping bring joy and hope to others. In a Viber post, it is suggested that if we have some money to spend now, 

“Let’s buy that “walis” (broom) being sold by peddlers near your village gates, even if you don’t need it. Buy those flowers being sold by “kuya” and “ate” in the streets and give it to your loved one — that usually leads to pleasant surprises. Buy that “trapo” (cloth rags) from the kids in the street, even if you have cannisters or microfiber cloths at home. Don’t bargain too hard, they have 3 months of catching up.”

Today, let us be thankful and grateful for the love Jesus has given us. God loved us first, even going to the extent of dying for us. It is a gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ “overflow for the many”. (Second Reading Rom. 5: 12-15).

Let us pray for the gift of faith, hope and love. That we choose to be happy, hopeful and love others as Jesus loves us all. It will be our testimony so that we can be the face of Jesus to the least of our brothers and sisters. 

The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord;and you also will testify.” (Jn. 15: 26b, 27a)

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