Peace of Mind

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 1/22/2012

It seems that mankind is struggling to find peace of mind as evidenced by a couple of trendy self-help phrases that I occasionally hear.

How do I know where I am going, if I don’t know where I am?
and
How do I know what I am supposed to be, if I don’t know who I am?

It seems that many in society are at a loss to explain the reason for their situation.  They are at a loss to find meaning for their lives, a purpose for themselves – resulting in anxiety. All you have to do is look back over the last 60 years, or so, and count the number of self-help books, videos, programs and groups to notice that this is pervasive throughout society.  Of course, this social senselessness plays right into hands of trendy authors, publishers and ‘gurus’ who are willing to help you with your search – for a price.  But, considering the continuing explosion of these ‘self-helps’ and the continual downward spiral of the overall attitude in society – something is missing.  What is obvious is that mankind can’t create a path to true happiness – at best we wander around blindly and stumble on temporary pleasures that fade as quickly as they come.

But the great news is that there are answers to the two trendy phrases I mentioned earlier.

How do I know where I am going if I don’t know where I am?
You are right in front of Christ and that is where you should be.
and
How do I know what I am supposed to be, if I don’t know who I am?
You are a member of the Mystical body and that is who you are supposed to be.

In other words – there is THE Eternal Answer, Jesus Christ. We are God’s.  Anything short of this true answer to those questions leads to failure.  St. Augustine says at the beginning of his epic autobiography ‘Confessions’:  “Our hearts are restless until they rest in You O Lord”; and he should know – his life was a story of searching and dissatisfaction until he found God’s plan for him.  In today’s readings Holy Mother Church is pointing this out as well.

We see in the first reading, Jonah hearing the Lord’s call and doing His will.  But in the chapters and verses before this reading we see that Jonah did everything he could to keep from listening to God’s word.  It was only when he acquiesced and submitted to God that his life turned around – and of course that big fish helped!  We see that Jonah went through Nineveh proclaiming God’s message. We see that doing God’s will not only helped Jonah but helped God’s people as well.  Jonah announces to the sophisticated city of Nineveh, a place with many trendy ‘gurus’ and experts, that they were heading down the wrong path.  There was a dissatisfaction in Nineveh that just needed the truth to be proclaimed to ignite the people, and Jonah was the spark.  He woke them up to God’s eternal plan and they turned away from their own designs that, as St Paul says in the second reading: ‘is passing away’.

We heard in the Gospel how Jesus called Simon, Andrew, James and John from their lives to follow a new life – one with God.  Jesus is calling each of us as well.  As Christ proclaims in the Gospel ‘the Kingdom of God is at hand’ – it is already here.  This message is still needed, maybe more than ever.  We are Christ’s ‘Jonahs’.  We are the messengers of His word.  This is who we were meant to be, what our happiness, true happiness is found in.

My brothers and sisters, when we quit trying trendy ideas and start following eternal truth we will know peace of mind.  When we stop running from God to find our own way and run with Him we will know peace of mind.  When we stop being impressed with cute and clever manmade sayings and phrases and embrace the eternal Word we know peace of mind; and so will those we meet.

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