As human beings, we want to feel good, we want to be happy. Often, our mistake is that we compare ourselves with others. We think that this will make us feel good, but on the contrary, the opposite happens. When we see that our neighbor has this new car, we become envious. When our friend gets the promotion and not me, we become lonely. When a sibling is doing good in his business, we start counting his blessings and forget to be grateful for our very own blessings.
In the Gospel, we hear of a Pharisee who wanted to justify himself to God. Ritually, he did everything his faith told him to do. But God sees what is in the heart.
Hence, three things we are often reminded of in mass readings about finding our happiness:
- We are reminded that God does not play favorites. He blesses us according to our own calling. Hence, if something is given, there is a purpose and a reason. If something is not given, there is a purpose and a reason, too. No need to compare our blessings with others. The key here is contentment and gratitude.
- We are reminded that in the end, we will face God for judgment. The secret to happiness is to focus on what is really important and essential in life. How do we do that? Have faith in the mission God has given us.
- We are reminded to never judge people because we do not know their stories, lives, situations, fears, and struggles. Now more than ever, judging has become so easy – just go to social media. How easy is it to judge people we do not know, people who have a deferring opinion on a topic, and people who are different from us?
That is why we remember the words in the responsorial psalm: The Lord hears the cry of the poor. We must remember in the eyes of the Lord, we are all poor because everything came from him and anytime, he can take away the things he has lent us.
Hence our prayers are:
- First, gratitude
- Second, faithfulness
- Third, compassion