Why not take a little time to reflect upon Sunday’s Gospel with your class?
Paula Yates, Robin Williams and Kurt Cobain are all famous names. They have much more in common than fame. They were also all rich and hugely successful. To the outsider they appeared to have everything necessary for a happy life. Yet, for them and many others like them , having everything was not enough. Sadly they have one more thing in common, each one ended their own life by suicide.
It seems that the things so many of us crave: status and wealth, success and possessions are no guarantee of happiness and indeed are not even capable of insulating the individual from an overwhelming sadness that can lead to destruction.
Every age of course has had its own false notions of what brings happiness. In the Jewish world that Jesus entered
many assumed that wealth, prosperity, happiness and social inclusion were signs that a person’s life was right in the eyes of God. St Luke challenged this view and made sure his readers knew that Jesus called this nonsense out for exactly that. Poverty, hunger, grief and exclusion are not signs of the absence of God’s love, more than that it may even be easier for the truly poor to grow in holiness for they can only depend on God. Others depend on status and wealth, false crutches indeed.
Happiness comes not from possessions but from within. The one who places trust and hope in the Lord are like tress by the waterside. Circumstances may change but that tree will always be watered, will always bear fruit.
The Gospel invites us to place our trust in God, to see wealth not in terms of goods or cash, but in terms of love and relationship. The things we crave cannot guarantee personal happiness but that one thing we absolutely need, Christ, can and does. We increase our wealth and our happiness in the very recognition of that.