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Why is it so hard to be happy?  Despite the great wealth and relative freedom that many in the Western world enjoy, happiness is elusive.  Watch any channel on t.v. and one is bombarded with all kinds of discontent; advertising that seeks to bring attention to unmet “needs”, people searching and competing for fame and wealth and attention, a continual news cycle that amplifies human selfishness as one abuses another.  In this age of “enlightenment”, the ultimate human enlightenment of simple happiness is elusive.

In the quest to quell the pain of discontent, people turn to psychologists who offer all kinds of “treatments” to cure, or at least alleviate, discouragement and depression.  These psychological treatments include approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy and the prescribing of anti-depressants.  TV “psychologists” and pop-gurus of all sorts diagnose and assert all kinds of advice to help the forlorn.  Despite man’s best efforts to treat the pain of being human, depression, suicide, substance abuse and other addictive behaviors are at epidemic levels.  Why can’t we all just be happy?

In today’s Gospel from the Mass (John 15:9-17), Jesus, the Divine Psychologist, gives Man the keys to true joy:

[9] As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.  [10] If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.  [11] These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.  [12] “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. [13] Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  [14] You are my friends if you do what I command you.  [15] No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.  [16] You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.  [17] This I command you, to love one another.

Jesus offers His Divine insight into the psychology of happiness:

If you really wish for joy, turn to Jesus Christ, the Divine Psychologist.  He knows how the human mind works, what is broken and how to fix it; He created you, after all!

Only Jesus Christ can offer everlasting joy.  Ask Him.  He’ll respond.