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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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Communication

The county hospital telephone operator received a call from a woman inquiring about the condition of a patient named Brinkman. She explained that she needed to know precisely how the patient was progressing. “I want all the information from top to bottom, from A to Z,” she insisted. The voice on the other end of the line said, “Would you hold the line, please, we don’t usually give that kind of information over the telephone.” Then a very authoritative voice came on and said, “Are you the lady who is calling about one of the patients?” She said, “Yes, sir! I’d like to know the information about Mrs. Brinkman, in Room 302.” He said, “Brinkman. Brinkman. Let me see. Baker, Baumgartner — Brinkman. Oh yes. Mrs. Brinkman is doing very well. In fact, she’s had two full meals, her blood pressure is fine, and if she continues this way, her doctor is going to send her home Tuesday at twelve o’clock.” The woman said, “Thank God! That’s wonderful! She’s going home at twelve o’clock! I’m so happy to hear that, that’s wonderful news.” The guy on the other end said, “From your enthusiasm, I take it you must be one of the close family.” She said, “What close family? I’m Mrs. Brinkman! My doctor doesn’t tell me anything!” — Stone, P. “Comedy Quote Dictionary” (adapted).

Mystery, Faith, God, Presence of, Ignorance

“Lest we forget: We are the ones who are intended to become true image of the Son” (Rom. 8:29). Back in the twenties, Thomas Edison wrote these lines: We don’t know the millionth part of one percent about anything. We don’t know what water is. We don’t know what light is. We don’t know what gravitation is. We don’t know what enables us to keep on our feet when we stand up. We don’t know what electricity is. We don’t know what heat is. We don’t know anything about magnetism. We have a lot of hypotheses about these things, but that is all. But we do not let our ignorance about all these things deprive us of their use. God is an impenetrable mystery. But we do not let our ignorance deprive us of the experience of His Presence. Thought is a mystery. But we do not let our ignorance deprive us of the experience of thinking. We don’t know how it works, but we know it works! Prayer is a mystery. But we do not let our ignorance deprive us of the experience of praying. We don’t know how it works, but we know it works!

Fear, Children

“Then Jesus said to them, ’Do not be afraid’” (Matthew 28:10). From humorist Erma Bombeck comes the following quote from a little boy who was going through a time when life seemed rather scary: My name is Donald, and I don’t know anything. I have new underwear, but I didn’t sleep last night because I’m worried. I have a loose tooth. What if a bell rings and a man yells, “Where do you belong?” and I don’t know? What if the trays in the cafeteria are up too high for me to reach? What if my loose tooth comes out in school when we have our heads down and are supposed to be quiet? Am I supposed to bleed quietly? What if I splash water on my name tag and my name disappears and no one knows who I am?

Preaching

A certain, highly-gifted preacher often spiced his sermons with humor drawn from his collection of well-intentioned responses to his preaching over the years. For example, he told of the woman who came up to him and said, “Your sermons are marvelous; each one is better than the next.” Another admirer said to him, “You are always good, but this sermon was superfluous.” To which he replied, with tongue in cheek, “Thank you. I hope to have it published posthumously.” “That’s wonderful,” said the straight-faced admirer, “I hope it will be soon.”

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