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Make Us THAT Happy!

You must love the Lord your God ... you must love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37,38) Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

A recently married man received a letter and some photographs from an old friend. Among the photographs was a picture of a beautiful patio deck the friend had made with his own hands.

Impressed with his friend’s skills, the man began to feel inadequate since he knew he was “all thumbs” when it came to working with tools. Consequently, when he showed the picture to his wife, he asked, rather dejectedly, “But what do I make?” And without missing a beat, his wife answered, “You make me happy!”

With a very different take on happiness and marriage, a comedian quipped, “I didn't know what happiness was until I got married -- but then it was too late.” -1

In a cartoon from New Yorker magazine, a married couple are pictured, each seated in a comfortable chair, holding a drink. On the oval rug at their feet is the family dog, intently engaged in the business of chewing on a stick. Gazing at the pup, the wife wistfully says to her husband, "Ralph, make me THAT happy" (with the word THAT, underscored).

You can relate. We can all relate. Sometimes it does seem like our dogs (and for that matter, our cats) have it better than we do. No responsibilities. Nothing to do but eat, sleep and chew on the furniture. On those "dog days," when things don't seem to be going our way, we may jokingly say, "if only I could trade places with old Max I'd be much better off!" And as absurd as that seems, the real problem for the wife in that cartoon is that she wants her husband to wave some sort of magic wand and make her feel the kind of happiness and contentment she is trying to project onto the family pet. Now don't get me wrong -- it is in our relationships with others, especially our significant others that we fully develop into the kind of persons God intended us to be. As the psychologist Carl Jung wrote, "The unrelated human being lacks wholeness." Jung is asserting that wholeness only comes through relationship with another. However, [...]

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Stories you can use...

We've got a million of them (well, almost).

Brotherhood of Man

Jessica Mclure, a two-year-old from Midland,Texas, was trapped at the bottom of an abandoned well for two days while the entire nation stood by, watching around-the-clock live news coverage of rescuers attempting to free her. Many of us were again reminded of her remarkable story when a "made for television" movie about her miraculous rescue aired a few years ago. Her story captured the attention of millions of Americans who prayed for her survival. At the same time... Earthquakes in the Soviet Union and Costa Rica have left tens-of-thousands homeless - yet that hardly captured our attention. In five South American countries, a cholera epidemic killed 1,000 people and infected another 145,000 - yet that hardly captured our attention. One-hundred and twenty-five thousand people drowned in Bangladesh, and the death toll continued upward in the aftermath of a devastating cyclone - yet that hardly captured our attention. In Africa, 27 million people, including 9 million in the Sudan and up to 6 million in Ethiopia were facing death from famine and insurrection -yet that hardly captured our attention. Why? We can rationalize that it is only natural to identify more with a crisis that strikes close to home. We can say also that we have enough problems in our own backyards: homelessness, joblessness, street crime, substance abuse, sagging economy...the list goes on and on. But we must ask ourselves - as members of the world community - as Christian members of the world community - doesn't the suffering of our brothers and sisters everywhere rightfully deserve our full attention - today and every day? The question is not whether all men are brothers. That question has been answered by the God who placed us on this earth together. The question is whether we have the strength and the will to make the brotherhood of man the guiding principle of our daily lives. 1 John F. Kennedy "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, blessed of My Father, take possession of the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundations of the world; for I was hungry and you gave Me food to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink...I was naked and you covered Me...'" (Matthew 25:34-36).

Children

When Theodore Geisel—better known as “Dr. Seuss”—died a few months ago, the entire News Media rushed to pay him tribute. Many of the TV, radio and newspaper epitaphs were written in his own literary style. Some were actual excerpts from his own writings. One such tribute read as follows: Then we saw him pick up All the things that were down. He picked up the cake, And the rake, and the gown, And the milk, and the strings, And the books, and the dish, And the fan, and the cup, And the ship, and the fish. And he put them away. Then he said, “That is that.” And then he was gone With a tip of his hat. Dr. Seuss delighted children and adults both with visions of “Truffula Trees,” “Ziffs,” “Nerkles” and “Grinches.” Shortly before he died, he said, “I think I have helped kids laugh in school and at home. That’s enough, isn’t it?” To help kids laugh, to help kids feel good about themselves—that’s enough to make us feel good about ourselves.

Faith

I once attended a man in a North of England town who had all all his life prided himself upon his atheism. He had disowned his only daughter because she married a schoolmaster who was devoutly religious. Toward the end of his life, however, when stricken by an incurable illness, this old skeptic was taken by an almost passionate desire to justify himself in the eyes of his son-in-law. Time and time again he would engage the younger man in argument. But he always concluded with the remark: “Don’t delude yourself. I’m not repentant. I still don’t believe in God.” To which one day his daughter replied, “But father, He believes in you.” Cronin, A.J., “Why I Believe in God.”

Predictions, Incompetence, Weather

“Remember, my dear friends, what the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ told you to expect” (Jude 1:17). A TV weather reporter had been so consistently wrong with his predictions that the station was flooded with letters demanding that he be replaced. Consequently, he applied for a job in another region of the country. “Why did you leave your last job?” the interviewer asked. “The climate didn’t agree with me,” said the weather reporter.

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