After anointing a sick person, she shared to me briefly her life story. She grew up with simple means. She studied hard in school and also at her job. Eventually, came the promotions and the increase in spending power. She had everything money can buy. Then she found herself lying sick in bed. It was only then that she realized that, “Everything can be taken away in just a second.” So much for pursuing wealth that cannot be brought in the next life. So much for pursuing wealth that is limited. Hence, money cannot buy happiness.
In one of the Gospels, we hear of Zaccheus who is materially rich. Yet he was searching. He only found the answer when he found Jesus. Or rather, when Jesus found him.
That is why in this Mass, let us reflect on Money and Happiness. Whether in plenty or simplicity, three things we remember:
- Gratitude. All that we have is grace. Whether in plenty or simplicity, there is still so much to be grateful for. When one is grateful, one is contented. When one is contented, generosity comes next. Hence, look at Zaccheus. “Lord half of my belongings are given to the poor. And if I defrauded anyone in the least, I pay him back fourfold.”
- Simple lifestyle. When money comes in, the lifestyle changes. A business friend once told me that he was observing the spending habits of his employees. When they were still temporary, because of meager salary, they were always in debt. Upon regularization, when the salary doubled, they were still in debt. Why? Change of lifestyle: upgraded cell phone, more eating out and more frequent shopping.
- Generosity. One of nature’s laws is that “It all comes back.” Hence, if we are generous, it will always come back. Remember, God cannot be outdone in generosity.
That is why my dear friends, it all boils down to the bible passage, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” Certainly, God will take care of those who put Him first in life.