(ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED APRIL 4, 2020)
I recently read that “laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress.” If that’s true then this is really a good time to laugh. I still remember coming home from classes at St. Louis U. with a lot of stress from carrying 20 semester hours with two or three labs, including my Genetics lab where some “axe murderer” threw out my Drosophila fruit flies. I’d stop in the local Jewish Deli and get a ¼ pound of Kosher bologna on rye with mustard, head home and sit down to watch “The Three Stooges”. I could feel the stress drain from my body. Somehow, as I saw “Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, and Dr. Howard” operating on this poor guy, leaving the instruments in his stomach, all was well with my soul…at least until my next exam.
Well, Jesus had plenty of stress and I believe he must have laughed a lot although you can’t find it in scripture. He certainly had a sense of humor as he dealt with his disciples who often just couldn’t figure it out. I’m sure he at least smiled a lot and had a wonderful twinkle in his eye. It seems the saints knew the value of laughter and joy: St. Ignatius of Loyola taught, “Laugh and grow strong.” St. John Bosco said, “I want no long-faced saints.” St. Francis de Sales said, “A sad saint is a sorry saint.” St. Thomas Aquinas taught, “Happiness is the natural life of man.”
So, I guess we’ll have to wait until heaven to see Jesus laugh. I look forward to the joy of being with the Lord and laughing until our sides ache. Hmmm, another question…can your sides ache in heaven.