I came across a Catholic joke book the other day. I thought I might share some of the jokes that I found in it:

 

  • How do you make holy water? Boil the hell out of it.
  • What do you call a Mass that is very, very important? Critical Mass
  • Why did the priest laugh during his homily? He had Mass hysteria.

I am sorry for inflicting these on you. They sound like the worst of those Christmas cracker jokes that you get at this time of year.

 

Since the advent of that comedy sketch Rev I M Jolly – all clergymen know that they are on dangerous ground when telling a joke. I don’t know what is so bad about it, is it the wrong setting? Is it that he is bad at telling the joke? Or is the joke just not funny?

 

 

I think though everyone whoever they are has a funny bone. Things that make them laugh, sometimes it might just be something that cracks a smile. 

 

There is something about laughing that is really important. To find humour in life. To laugh at yourself and your troubles, seems a good thing. Not to take life too seriously, there seems wisdom in that. Laughing can be a tonic. Laughing can lighten things. Laughing can break the ice.

 

Today at mass we come here on a Sunday which is called the Sunday of Joy. It takes its name from the entrance antiphon if mass which recalls the OT passage which we heard at mass that calls on us to rejoice.

 

I suppose we recognise the joy is speaks of is a lasting joy, a profound joy not something passing. The joy that it speaks of is what we are celebrating at Advent, the joy of the coming of the Messiah. The hour looked for which the people prepare. The joy that comes with the `Baptist’s message of the imminent arrival of the one whom they have waiting for so long.

 

This time we are invited to enter into the joy of looking forward to that hour when God came among us as the tiny child of Bethlehem as the man who walked along Jordan’s banks as was baptised by John.

 

As human beings we are created for laughter and joy. We are created for the joy of life and love and friendship. We are not created to be miserable or downhearted, we are created for joy.

 

Sometimes the way the world runs we think the opposite. We wait for the next bus to run us down. The next disaster to beset us. The next problem to arise, The next rainy day to arrive. It seems to easy to be pessimistic.

 

But we are created for joy. To see the good in things,. The best in people. To work for solutions. To look forward to things. To enjoy the life we have, the friendships we make, the relationships that are ours. The lot in life we have. We are created to make ourselves better, other people better, the world better.

 

Its easy to think otherwise.

 

But this day reminds us what we are made to be – creatures of laughter and joy.

 

Don’t be sad. Don’t be downhearted. Don’t be fearful of what is to come. Don’t be suspicious of good fortune.

 

Trust in the fact that you are created for joy and happiness, peace and contentment.

If someone tells you a joke, don’t be afraid to laugh or smile or be joyful. It is what you are created for, for joy.

 

St Paul says it well in that reading – I want you to be happy always happy in the Lord. I repeat what I want is your happiness.