Friday, June 3, 2011

From Pain to Joy

In today's Gospel (John 16: 20-23) the Lord tells his followers (and us) that sometimes you have to suffer in order to get to the reward. Every pro football player knows this, since no one, no matter how much natural talent they have, you cannot win the Super Bowl without long, hard hours of practice and intense commitment, despite wanting to do other things.
I think that the same applies to our faith. We all tend to think that, since I believe and try to do what God wants, it should somehow be easier than for those who do not even try. In fact, the opposite is true. Those who do not care about God seem to go through life carefree. Often life seems to smile on them, and we can even think that they are blessed. But this is deceiving. Look at professional athletes, scientists, doctors, master carpenters or other "experts". You may not have to put in the long hours and hard work they do, and think that you are blessed with and easier life. But you also will never know the joy that comes from winning the big game, discovering ways to help humanity, saving lives of the sick, taking unfinished wood and creating a beautiful piece of furniture. The grief of practice, failure, study and injury is the price they pay for the joy and satisfaction they get from a job well done.
For people of faith, putting that faith into practice requires even more work. It means we have to concentrate on seeing the best in people, not the worst. It means we have to get up and go to church instead of sleeping in on Sundays. It means we have to forgive instead of holding a grudge. It means we have to help those in need instead of ignoring them and wishing they would go away.
Living this way may indeed make us "grieve" a little, but the Lord assures us that our grief will be turned to joy. Not joy that we will necessarily experience in this life, but a joy that will never end. And if winning the Super Bowl is something a pro football player will never forget, imagine what heaven will be like!!

No comments: