Gospel: Lk 10:38-42 –
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he entered a village, and a woman called Martha welcomed him to her house. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet to listen to his words. Martha, meanwhile, was busy with all the serving, and finally she said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work? Tell her to help me!”
But the Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you worry and are troubled about many things, whereas only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her.”
The saint we are remembering today, Francis of Assisi, was one of the most joyful persons who ever lived on our planet Earth–and at the same time one of the most Christ-like and mortified followers of Christ. Which proves that joy and self-denial are meant to go together. Now, since our present Pope has chosen his papal name in honor of Francis, since he is obviously a man full of joy and since he often exhorts us to be more joyful, perhaps this is as good an opportunity as any to talk about Christian joy.
Entire books have been written on this subject, so we must choose among a vast array of topics connected with joy. Let us concentrate today on one of the major sources of joy, a source easily accessible to anybody. And that is the topic of gratitude.
As demonstrated over and over again, it is impossible to be sad and grateful at the same time. Grateful people are joyful people. And gratitude can be learned, like any other habit. It just requires a bit of practice. Let us start in this simple way. Just before going to bed or just before going to sleep, let us think of three things which happened during the day and for which we are grateful.