Jesus announces the dawning of the kingdom of God in Mark's Gospel today....our last verse is "Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power." We know this is a reference to the end of the Passion narrative that is coming and Jesus' resurrection. Jesus ushers in the kingdom of God. To be part of that kingdom Jesus tells us we have to take up our cross and follow him.....to lose our life so that we might find it....that we cannot gain anything through the acquisition of tangible things, that by acquiring those things we are in danger of losing that life promised.....
Theoretically these instructions sound do-able, but in practice we know that they are quite difficult, if not impossible to achieve. Juxtaposed against that knowledge are the experiences that I have witnessed of people who have enormous wealth, tremendous possessions, and are probably the unhappiest people I have ever met: angry, sad, alcoholic, depressed to name just a few of the symptoms. Certainly not every person of means is this way, but I have witnessed enough of them to know that the trite old adage "Money can't buy happiness" has a good deal of truth to it.
I think we need to strive for a balance in our lives. A balance of our wants, desires and needs as set against Jesus' invitation to be a part of the kingdom of God. What will bring us happiness? How do we define happiness? What is important? Simple questions. Hard to answer.
Copyright 2009, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.