This Easter homily is based on John 20:1-9.

What is remarkable about this Gospel story is the emotion that the women experienced as a result of their discovery of the empty tomb: Fear.

I wasn’t expecting that.

We are told that the women were so afraid they said nothing to anyone– exactly the opposite of what the angels had requested them to do. Of course we know that they eventually overcame their fear and disclosed their discovery to the other disciples.

Easter is supposed to bring joy, but isn’t it funny that the initial reaction of the women was fear?

There is something about us that is reluctant–if not suspicious–about good news. It’s almost as if we are more accustomed
to fear and sadness than to joy. We often end up doing what the women did after their encounter with the angel: We flee from good news!

The poet Hafez has written a beautiful line that is worth thinking and praying about:


It’s hard to believe what the poet is telling us: that happiness has been pursuing us. It’s astonishing!

Too often it doesn’t feel that way at all! Happiness seems all too elusive.

But this brings us to one important truth: Happiness is a choice,
a decision we have to make, but too often we fail to make that decision.

Imagine Happiness running down the streets in pursuit of you,
as the poet Hafez says. Why would we be running away
from Happiness? Could we be pursuing something else that we are mistaking for Happiness?

Or, is there anything in our life that is keeping us from dropping
our fear, our anger, our sadness–or whatever else is getting in the way of joy.

What would we lose if we made the choice today–right here and right now–to leave all that behind and to be happy?

Let’s think about that. And if you can, do something about it.

This Easter, make the decision  to let Happiness find you.

13 replies on “EASTER FEAR OR JOY?”

I believe happiness is found in a simple life. When we keep things simple,& learn to find joy in small things, there will be less problem,less stress, less worry. Life becomes easier , happier& more meaningful. Have a Happy Easter season !

Happiness is total, no space for any other intrusion. It is the realm of perfect completion filled with the goodness of the One and Only God of all! This absolute state all will attain when we join Him in His perfection.

Thank you Fr. Johnny. You always pierce through the hearts of many. And a beautiful comment from Camille. Happy Easter!

“Happiness seems all too elusive. But this brings us to one important truth: Happiness is a choice,
a decision we have to make, but too often we fail to make that decision. Imagine Happiness running down the streets in pursuit of you, as the poet Hafez says. Why would we be running away from Happiness? Could we be pursuing something else that we are mistaking for Happiness?”

If a person seems to flee from happiness, perhaps it is because of ignorance of its true nature which is hidden from us by a blinding, properly monstrous advertisement that overwhelms our senses and stifles our consciousness. It prevents us from being present to ourselves and so to get in touch with who we are: a child of God. How many people every day become disciple of Netflix? Desperately people lock for happiness in the consumption of trivialities that offer only sad pleasures. Our mind becomes petty. As said the proverb: “Little things please little minds”
And when we achieve a breakthrough through the tumultuous clouds of advertising, to regain a foothold in the social reality, which facts attract our attention? The spontaneous smile of a living child, the joy of an authentic encounter with a true person, a shared love; they are so many events which open the door of happiness and enlighten the choices we should make.
But how can we keep our heart full of happiness when the misfortunes that struck and afflict our sisters and brothers, all children of God, whatever the continent or the country they inhabit? Our heart is broken. One can only be revolted by all the human sufferings, the unspeakable misery of the most deprived, the physical, psychological and moral wounds of the victims of wars, violence, injustice and corruption, as well as the selfishness arbitrarily erected as the first virtue of homo oeconomicus.
According to Lao Tzu, “There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.”
In the Gospels Jesus shows us a path of peace and justice, of love and hope. This path is paved with few words “Love your neighbor as yourself”.
But people rarely follow it.

Happy Easter, Fr J! Had to fly to Cebu yesterday to visit my husband’s brother who was rushed to the ER last Holy Thursday. Missed Black Saturday Vigil Mass and Salubong at our QC Parish (where our grandkids were angels). Went to the 11:00 Mass at Sacred Heart Church here and found out that you had given a Recollection. Another miss, but glad that my brother in-law is responding to meds and improving. I hope I get the chance to read your homily to him, Fr. He has so many fears and needs a bit of happiness.

I get his totally! Was in that situation for my whole life and last January, after 40-some years of eluding that choice, I finally made up my mind to be really happy, to constantly pursue it this time around. It was grace! I had Easter in January!

And it’s not that I am happy or laughing or giddy all the time. There’s just that sense of contentment and gratitude. That even when, let’s say, rain is coming, I just tell myself I have an umbrella in my bag!

God bless everyone! God is good! Happy Easter!

“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad” …let this be the message that rings in our ears everyday… let everyday be Easter!
Let happiness be our choice, each day we wake up.

Perhaps, that’s why we are told to “Be still”, so happiness can catch up with us. Let’s all be still and be happy. Happy Easter to all.

With love for others in our hearts we can easily find happiness.
Thank you Fr. J. for another chance to go on a retreat during this Lenten break. ? HAPPY EASTER!

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