by: Bro. CJ Vales
How to be happy? This is one of the most difficult questions we can encounter in life. It is a million dollar question because happiness depends on our choice. As what Aristotle says: “happiness depends upon ourselves.”
How can we become happy if we are not contented with what we have? How can we experience joy if we focus our lives on the mistakes of others? How can we enjoy life if we always see life unfair?
Complaining and comparing are the causes unhappiness and by doing this, sometimes, we do things that causes pain to others.
Today’s first reading, from the Book of Exodus, the Israelites were complaining that Moses had abandoned them, so while Moses was on Mt. Sinai, they molded the golden calf-idol. This was not the only time that the Israelites complained, during the course of their exodus from Egypt, they complained that the Egyptians were going to overtake and kill them; they complained that they didn’t have enough food to eat; and when God gave them manna to eat, they complained about its monotonous taste; they complained that they didn’t have enough water, so God gave them water from the rock; and so on and on. The Israelites failed to see that God is with them, that God forgave them every time they did something against God’s own will, that God continued to love them even they complained.
Today’s gospel begins with the complaint of the Pharisees that Jesus was eating with sinners. Maybe for us it may appear that Jesus was being friendly, but in their culture eating together meant acceptance of one another. The Pharisees, as keepers of all God's rules, have a point. However, they failed to see that God is reaching out, that God is a forgiving God, that he finds joy in finding His lost children.
We should be more cautious in comparing and complaining because we will miss something important, that is to enjoy life and to feel the loving God who will lead us to happiness. As happiness was defined as the quality or state of feeling pleasure or joy, can be found in the simplest of things, most remarkable places or significant events.
However, in our world today it is not easy to find happiness, so let us be reminded of God’s joy every time He finds the lost. Let us avoid comparing and complaining the mistakes of others. Let us be contented with what we have and who we are. As Immanuel Kant says in his rules for happiness: do something, love someone and hope for something.