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The Face of Christ
The Diversity of Holiness

The Face of Christ

The Solemnity of All Saints. Fr Benedict Jonak suggests that happiness is not to be found in techniques, but in the friendship of Jesus.

The longing for happiness can be so strong within us that we can very easily become attached to any semblance of happiness, and dazzled by the light we long for we often stray to seek happiness among mere shadows.

But happiness is difficult to be found if we are actually looking for it. It is not to be achieved through the mastering of any technique and not to be obtained for any price.

Today Jesus is talking to his disciples. He moves away from the crowd, and talk to his disciples who follow him. And it is not the first time he teaches them in private, and not the only time he calls them happy: ‘Happy are the eyes which see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.’

Happiness is not to be found in riches or full stomach, but in the looking at the face of Christ.

The beatific vision, the vision of the blessed who can see God face to face, is already hinted at, inaugurated, as it were, to those who are looking at the face of Christ. They are happy because they see his face, because they are with him and follow him. This is clearly what matters.

And again, Jesus is not telling them that the way to achieve that happiness is through being poor or hungry and so on, but he is simply looking at his disciples and, recognising what they are going through or will be going through, he points towards himself as the only person that can make them happy even though they should suffer.

Yes, you who follow me are poor. Because you are following me you are blessed.

Yes, you who follow me hunger for righteousness and you shall be satisfied when you see me hanging on the cross to restore the creation.

Let us be happy today because of those who are blessed, who see the face of God in the beatific vision, who did not follow any techniques to be happy but were given that happiness through being faithful disciples even in the face of persecution.

Readings: Apocalypse 7:2-4,9-14 | 1 John 3:1-3 | Matthew 5:1-12a

fr Benedict Jonak lives in the Priory of St Paul in Berlin where he is engaged in pastoral ministry for the Province of Teutonia.
benedict.jonak@english.op.org

Comments (1)

  • Catherine

    Thank you for this short but helpful homily. When I was young I thought that God would make me feel happy if I followed him. I didn’t understand. I think it’s very important to realise what happiness Jesus is telling us matters and thank you for poining this out in such a way. I find it encouraging and beautiful.

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