Palm Sunday, pain and happiness

Jesus spends little time trying to ferret out sinners or impose purity codes in any form. He just goes where the pain is. ~ From Richard Rohr, Bias from the Bottom

This quote appeared in my Facebook feed this morning: very appropriate for today, Palm Sunday, when we commemorate Jesus' resolute journey to where the pain - his pain - would be; a journey to where he would be indelibly wounded and his Heart pierced. A journey Jesus' followers must take as well, to where the pain is - our own and others' - knowing that he has already been here before us, and will certainly travel alongside us.

Today is also International Day of Happiness, a day for reminding ourselves that true happiness doesn't lie in possessions, power or endless parties, but in living and sharing values which are deeper and more enduring. It can be found in friendship, simplicity and gratitude. True happiness can lie as much - or even more - in giving instead of receiving, in serving instead of being served, and in loving and forgiving as Jesus taught us to.

And as I reflected on this confluence of Palm Sunday and a day officially devoted to happiness, I remembered Jesus' words to Julian of Norwich in her Tenth Revelation:

With his face full of happiness our Lord looked at his wounded side and gazed at it in joy... In this sweet sight he revealed his blessed heart, sundered in two... and said very happily: 'See how I loved you', as if he had said, 'My darling, look and see your Lord, your God, your Creator, your endless joy. See what delight and happiness your salvation gives me. And rejoice with me because of my love.' ... 'I loved you so much before I died for you that I wanted to die for you... And now all my bitter pain, and all my hard labour is turned into endless joy and happiness for me and for you...'

None of us can ever experience the full extent of Jesus' joy, because we will never match his suffering and death. But we have his assurance that if we go to where there is even some pain it will be worth it, and at some point it will lead us to true happiness...

Wishing everyone a blessed Holy Week, through a closer journeying with Jesus...