Our gift of laughter

The past week has been so beautiful. The nights are still a little bit chilly, and the rains have made everything so lush. We had some friends visiting over the holiday and they commented how amazingly green everything was. It was as if, so they said, everything was a shade of neon green.

This is especially amazing when you consider the fact that some places in the country have already hit days reaching above 100. We are just so blessed to live in such a beautiful place.

In today’s gospel there is a line, about mid-way through, that goes, “Without cost you have received”. Isn’t that the truth. All that we have to do is to look into the eyes of our loved ones or look into the clouds at sunset.

But the line from the gospel didn’t stop there? Sure, He agrees with us that we live in a beautiful place, but he adds, “without cost you are to give.”

What is that supposed to mean? Are we to somehow supposed to give someone a rainbow? Or a rain covered meadow?

It’s not really such a hard question. All of those things bring us great joy, all that we have to do is pass it on. The joy that we feel under warm blankets on a chilly night is actually something that we can pass on. We can pass on that feeling of safety, warmth and security.

Last week I came into adoration, and I saw a friend sitting there. We exchanged hello’s and then talked for a couple of minutes. She shared that she had been sitting before the Lord and heard, what she could only assume was, a mother and daughter outside the window laughing. She said that they were laughing so freely that she could not help laughing herself. You know those contagious laughs where you just have to smile. I nodded, and knew exactly what she was talking about and then she said, “I wonder what makes God laugh like that?”

Wow! What a simple thought that was so deeply profound. We seem to anthropomorphize everything else about God, why not laughter. In today’s first reading we heard how “angry” God can be with us. How we can upset him to the point of wanting to make Him turn away from us. Is that even possible? The very essence of God is love, how can He be angry?

When I was little, I remember making my mother so angry that she started chasing me around the yard. We ended up going around and around the picnic table until she ended up laughing so hard that she just had to stop. We were both standing there, on opposite sides of the table laughing until she finally said, “wait until your father gets home.”

I know a number of things that make God laugh, for example when I tell God, “Don’t worry Lord, I got this?” “You can go off and help someone else or take care of someone else’s problem. I’m good!”. Undoubtedly these are things that make God chuckle, but what about that full abandoned laughter?
Is it something that we do? Something that we say? Something that we don’t do? Luke 15:7 says, “I say to you, that there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner that repents, than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” How about, Psalm 149:4 “God delights in His people” or Chronicles 29:17 He finds joy in uprightness”.

All of this refers to “joy” but what about a good ole belly laugh where you can’t stop, you can’t breath and you can’t see because your eyes are filled with tears.

Today’s responsorial psalm was, “let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.” What if we were to change it slightly? What if that verse were to say, “let us see your smile, Lord … Let us hear your laughter, Lord …. Let us cause your joy, Lord, and we shall be saved.

MT 10:7-15

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“As you go, make this proclamation:
‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.
Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts;
no sack for the journey, or a second tunic,
or sandals, or walking stick.
The laborer deserves his keep.
Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it,
and stay there until you leave.
As you enter a house, wish it peace.
If the house is worthy,
let your peace come upon it;
if not, let your peace return to you.
Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words–
go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.
Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment
than for that town.”

July 7, 2022

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