March 17 2013
LENT V (C)
Go, and from now on do not sin any more. – John 8: 11
Dr. Will Durant is well-known & highly respected for his distinguished career as author, journalist & educator. Among his written works are The Story of Philosophy (a best seller), & his monumental The Story of Civilization, which he co-authored with his wife Ariel. As he grew older, Dr. Durant began to reflect more & more on the question “What is happiness?”
He himself had sought happiness in very many places since his earliest years. He sought it in work, in pleasure, in travel. He sought it in knowledge, in honors, in achievement. His life had been a tangle of dreams & hopes & disillusions, the good & the bad together. But at last, in his mature years, he found what he had been seeking. What was it?
He heard a voice within him say, “You have in yourself all the faults which you scorn in others. You too are capable of selfishness & greed. The world is what it is because of men like you! That is when he began to grapple seriously with the happiness question. In his own words,
“One day, at a little station out on a wooded cliff near the sea, I saw a woman waiting in a tiny car, with a child asleep in her arms. A man alighted from the train, walked to her, embraced her, & kissed the child gently, careful lest he should awaken it. They drove off together to some modest home among the fields; & it seemed to me that happiness was with them.”
This highly sophisticated, highly educated, highly travelled, highly talented, & highly honored man fulfilled his search for a definition of happiness in a simple, fleeting real-life study of a family portrait.
We read in St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians, “Bear with one another; forgive one another as the Lord has forgiven you. Over all these virtues put on love, which binds together & makes them perfect. Christ’s peace must reign in your hearts (Col. 3: 12-15).”
Herein Paul gives the characteristics of the christian family. Our individual gifts & our life circumstances may differ, but for all members of Christ’s family, the formula for christian living is the same.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus saves the woman caught in adultery from being stoned to death by revealing the self-righteousness of her accusers. Jesus sent her on her way, but not until he had given her the command: “Go, & from now on do not sin any more.”
As members of Christ’s family, His command to us is to be faithful & loyal to our commitment to love one another as He has loved us. Without that commitment, love flies out the window & with it goes happiness. If happiness eludes us, we need to take a good, hard look at the family portrait of our immediate family & our parish family. What would ours look like? AMEN!