Smile, grin, laugh – Jesus would love that

If God had wanted us to use the metric system, Jesus would have had 10 apostles. – Sen. Jesse Helms

Did Jesus laugh? An article by William Webber in Beliefnet (October 2003) told how a Gallup poll found that half of all Americans thought that Jesus was not fun-loving.

But, think about it.

Jesus loved a good party. He performed his first miracle so that a wedding party could continue. In Luke 15, every parable ends with a party. His famous story of the prodigal son ends with a party, and the older son who would not attend the party is portrayed as the one with the problem. In fact, the picky people around Jesus criticized him for being a glutton and having such a good time (Luke 7:34). His long list of friends included people from every strata of society.

Webber also says that Jesus must have been a warm teddy bear on occasion because the children loved him (Matthew 19:13-15). The children must have loved the sparkle in Jesus’ eyes, his warm open smile, and yes, his ready laugh. They clamored to be with him, even trying to find ways to get around the blockade of the disciples, who thought Jesus had more important things to do than hold a child on his lap. But Jesus, who was calling the shots, gave a reassuring smile to the children and said, “Let the children come to me, and don’t hinder them” (Matthew 14:19).

Remember when we heard the Scripture reading about camel going through the eye of a needle. Commentators go to extreme lengths to explain that Jesus was referring to a small gate in the city wall that a camel could only crawl through with great difficulty. Jesus loved to use the ridiculous to make his point.

Our problem is that we tend to take everything he said so seriously that we miss the humor. Remember, in John 15:11 Jesus explains to his disciples, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”

How many times did Pope John Paul II tell us to “Be not afraid?” Jesus was no gloomy messiah. His standard greeting to his disciples was, “Rejoice!”

So let’s smile, grin, and laugh. Jesus would love that.

        Father Dennis Meinen serves as chaplain at Holy Spirit Retirement Home, Sioux City, for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the diocese and Calix; and Faithful Friar of the Garrigan 4th Degree Assembly of the Knights of Columbus, Sioux City.

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