Sometimes God’s blessings can be challenging. For example, we might not think that those who are meek and those who mourn are blessed. And we certainly wouldn’t celebrate the blessings of those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, would we? It’s even more challenging when we remember that the word “blessed” in Scripture could also be translated as “happy.” Would we think of those people as happy? Probably not, but God does.
Paul and Timothy in our first reading write to the people of the Church at Corinth that, when they are afflicted – as they surely were! – it was for the Church’s encouragement and salvation. Paul knew well that following Christ meant going to the Cross. He realized that, for him, it probably meant death, but for all of us, it means some kind of mortification, some kind of sacrifice.
So it’s important for us to remember, I think, that while God never promises to make our lives free and easy, he does promise to bless us. He will bless us with whatever gifts we need to do the work he has called us to do, the work for which he formed us in our mother’s womb. We may be reasonably happy in this life, but the true happiness must come later. Our reward, which Jesus promises will be great, will surely be in heaven.