Have you ever thought about how much fun Our Lord was to be around? Jesus hung out with sinners and ate with them, and attended weddings where there was dancing and fun and happiness. His disciples felt joy being in His Presence. Rather than fasting like the Jewish guidelines expected, they celebrated and feasted! Jesus was a fun guy to be around!
I think the inspiration I try to spread here to live a happier and better life aligns perfectly with Our Lord’s message of joy. Jesus wants us to live joyful lives of laughter and fun with our families and friends. He wants us to enjoy life to the fullest, spreading kindness and compassion, and helping others less fortunate to live happier and better lives too.
I think what most of us don’t always realize is that living our lives for God is the best path to happiness for ourselves. We think that following the laws of God and keeping His Commandments are too restrictive to having fun. It’s really just the opposite!
Jesus taught His followers that serving God didn’t have to make them miserable. He showed that His ministry could be joyful work!
Even many of His parables were humorous. Take Luke 5:36. He told them a parable also: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it upon an old garment; if he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old.” Who would cut up a brand new piece of clothing to mend something old? That’s silly. This would have made His followers laugh. They enjoyed hearing His stories.
People were drawn to Jesus and followed Him around because they enjoyed being near Him. He made them feel happy, not morose.
Yes, there would come a time later for sorrow and sadness. He ate the Last Supper with His disciples, was betrayed and arrested. For us, that time for sorrow and solemnity is during Lent. But Our Lord wants us to spend the majority of our lives joyfully, with laughter and light-heartedness.
Did you know Jesus was a rule-breaker? While He kept every Commandment (of course!) and did respect Jewish law as well, He and His disciples had no problem breaking some rules.
Our Lord was into love, compassion and forgiveness, NOT rules for their own sake. He did not permit the adulteress to be stoned, even though that was the law. Sometimes His disciples would eat without washing their hands (not acceptable or within the guidelines of the law). He healed the sick and infirm on the Sabbath! That was NOT allowable according to the Pharisees!
Man’s laws are not God’s laws, and Jesus lived a life of Love. He did not follow rules and regulations just for the sake of ticking them off a list.
We as a society sometimes make laws that are definitely not based on the love of God. Here in the U.S. we have a few of them. We no longer govern our lives according to God’s view of right and wrong, but according to man’s convenience and opinions, twisting right and wrong.
Jesus chided the Pharisees for following rules without having any love in their hearts.
In turn, the Pharisees persecuted Jesus for not following all their rules. The Pharisees had a list of guidelines for all good Jews, and fasting was one of them. They were outraged that Jesus’ disciples ate and drank while they themselves fasted.
When someone didn’t fast in Jesus’ time, they were not considered by the Pharisees to be holy. Holiness was equated with following all the difficult rules and guidelines of Jewish society, without necessarily thinking of God’s intentions of love behind them.
The Pharisees would whiten their faces when they fasted because it was generally accepted that holiness meant looking and feeling miserable. Holiness=misery. There was no joy in the old ways.
They were very resentful of Jesus’ way of life. His ministry was joyful! Holiness= Joy!
Instead of strings of rules to follow, He kept things simple. Love God. Love your neighbor. Relax and enjoy life! Be healed, and be happy!
It is actually our Christian responsibility to spread joy. There is so much misery and depression and darkness. Let us spread the Light of Christ by spreading positivity and joy!
We can spread cheer within our families, or we can make sure everyone around us is miserable when we don’t feel well.
We can spread positivity at work, or we can complain or gossip.
We can bring joy and light to everyone whose lives we touch, or we can refuse to treat them with kindness and compassion.
Jesus wants us to live a happier and better life, and He wants us to spread happier and better lives to everyone whose path we cross. Live joyfully in Christ Jesus!
Copyright 2014, Deborah Shelby