Friends, our Gospel for this Sunday is one of the great passages of the New Testament—namely, the Beatitudes from the fifth chapter of Matthew. "Beatitudo" just means happiness, and the one thing we all want is to be happy. Well, here is the Son of God telling us how—so let’s pay close attention!
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Peace be with you.
We have one of the great passages in the New Testament today for our reading, namely, the Beatitudes, taken from the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew.
So the very beginning of the Sermon on the Mount.
I’m going to go through all eight Beatitudes., I’m aware that as I record.
These words, Pope Francis has just said that he thinks a lot of Catholic.
Preaching is terrible.
And one reason is it’s too long.
And he said, “Keep it to eight minutes.”, Well, maybe Holy, Father, I, can’t guarantee eight, but I promise, you it’ll be around twelve or thirteen as usual.
But I’ll, get through all eight.
First of all.
They’re so important because “beatitudo” just means happiness., I don’t care who you are or what your background is;.
That’s the one thing we all want.
Everyone has that in common.
We, all want beatitudo.
We all want to be happy, everybody.
Well, here’s the Son of God telling us how to be happy.
So we should pay close attention.
He says, first, “How, blessed”, —happy, again, how happy— “are the poor in spirit.
The reign of God is theirs.”.
Why is this the first beatitude? Well, because pride’s, the greatest sin.
What does pride.
Say? Basically, I’ve got to fill myself up., To, be happy, I’ve got to aggrandize.
I’ve got to fill myself up with good things., The, basic, spiritual principle, is:, no.
It’s actually by emptying.
The self out that I become “beatus,”, I become happy.
It’s by letting go, emptying out, living for the sake of the other.
Not, filling up the cage with all sorts of things, but rather giving oneself.
So being poor in spirit means that.
Don’t think of it primarily in monetary terms., It’s, a spiritual idea, poor in spirit.
The more I, give my life away.
The happier I, become., Okay, next:, “Blessed, too are the sorrowing.
They will be consoled.” And.
I know, this can sound a little odd.
Like, is this sort of a masochistic idea or a sadistic idea? That, the unhappier I become, well.
That’s what I should shoot for?, No, no., The, great spiritual tradition, read it this way:.
How happy are those who are sorrowing for their sin.
We feel bad about all kinds of things.
We feel bad because our dreams haven’t come true., We feel bad because we didn’t get the job.
We feel bad because this relationship fell apart, or whatever it is.
What’s the one thing we should really feel sorrow, over?, Our own sins.
Do you mean? I’m? Okay? And you’re okay.
I’m beautiful in every single way.”, Our culture today is telling me never to be sorry about my sins.
Never feel bad about myself.
No, affirm myself at every turn.
How’s that working out for you? You, look around the culture.
How’s that working out for us? Affirming ourselves at every turn.
Never admitting any kind of problem? It doesn’t make you happy.
That makes you miserable.
The key to happiness is being sorrowful sorrowing for our sins.
“They shall be consoled,”.
The Lord says.
The first step toward repentance and toward the acceptance of forgiveness.
I wonder, how often we think about that? The key to our beatitudo is being forgiven for our sins.
Our sins are like a great burden.
Our sins are like chains.
The first step in losing those chains is to be sorry for our sins and thereby open to forgiveness.
“Blessed are the lowly.
They shall inherit the land.” Again.
It’s so counterintuitive.
Who, inherits, the land? The last time, I checked.
It was powerful people, self-assertive people.
Those with no concern for the other.
A Nietzschean superman, the “will to power,” and “don’t get in my way.” I’m.
The one that will inherit the earth.
Powerful nations willing to wield great weapons of destruction against their enemies.
They’re the ones who inherit the land.
No, says, Jesus, rather the lowly.
Think of it.
Those who have emptied themselves, forgotten about themselves, are the ones who actually are closest to the earth.
They’re closest to reality.
We’re talking here about humility.
Don’t think of that phony, false humility.
Someone, who’s humble says, I’m, not preoccupied with my own ego, how I’m doing, what impression I’m making., Rather, I, forget about all that.
I, get that monkey off my back, and I lose myself in whatever it is I’m.
I give myself to it.
I, get lost in whatever I’m doing., Notice, please, I’m lowly and therefore I’m close to the earth.
Humble is from the Latin “humus,”.
Humus means the ground, the earth.
When I’m preoccupied with my ego and my status and how I’m doing and all that, I’m divorced from reality.
When in the simplest way I, forget about myself and I give myself to a book I’m reading or a person I’m talking to or a task.
I have, I become happy.
It true, everybody? Think about it.
Best moments in life are when you’re least aware of yourself, least aware of your hang-ups and preoccupations.
Happy are the lowly.
They indeed, will inherit the land.
They’re close to the humus, to the ground.
That’s, really a wonderful, Beatitude, I, think., Next, one.
“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for holiness.
They shall have their fill.” Oh.
My goodness, we’re hungry and thirsty for so many things, aren’t, we?, Hungry, I’m hungry for success.
I’m hungry for more power.
I’m hungry for material.
I’m, physically hungry for food.
I’m hungry for attention.
All the things.
We have these hungry hearts.
As, Bruce, Springsteen, said, “Everyone’s got a hungry heart.” We’re, always looking for what’s going to satisfy us.
One of the most important questions to ask about yourself is this:.
What are you primarily hungering? For? Amidst all these different hungers.
There’s one that you really want.
All got something.
The, Lord says, none of those will make you happy.
Won’t give you beatitudo.
The one thing? Now.
They’re not bad in themselves.
As I’ve said, many times, power and success and money.
They’re not bad in themselves.
The thing you should be hungering for above all, the primary thirst of your life, should not be for those things, but should be for holiness., What’s, holiness?, It’s, friendship, with God.
Friendship with God.
The one thing you should want above all.
You’re facing a decision in life, “Hey.
If I decide this, it’ll make me richer.” Yeah, but will it make you more of a friend of God? “Yeah,? If I choose that, it’s going to make me more famous for sure.” But? Will it make you a friend of God? “Boy, that’s going to make everyone like me.”, Yeah, I know, but will it make you more a friend of God? That’s? All you should be worried about.
How happy are those who hunger and thirst for holiness.
Listen: “they shall have their fill.” See.
Because every other thing you hunger for in life, you get it and it’s fine.
But it wears off.
It goes away.
It, evanesces., But.
You hunger and thirst for holiness, friendship with God? That doesn’t fade away; that intensifies.
“Blessed are they who show mercy.
Mercy shall be theirs.”.
Mercy is “hesed” in the Hebrew, “misericordia” in Latin.
Mercy, mercy’s, what God is.
Mercy’s, what God is.
He’s marked by tender mercy in that beautiful translation of hesed.
That’s in the King James.
The, tender mercy of God.
What is that? Well.
Look at that word, compassion, from “compassio” in Latin.
That means to suffer with.
Misericordia means the pain in your heart.
It’s the suffering that you feel in your own heart.
When you identify with the suffering of somebody else.
See, that’s what love, willing the good of the other, looks like in this world of suffering.
It’s that you enter in a sympathetic way —look at that word, again, “sympathia,” means to suffer with, the same idea—.
You enter in a sympathetic, compassionate, merciful way into the suffering of the world.
You’ll, be happy.
How many of us want to run from the suffering of the world? Take me away from that.
Make me immune to that.
Give me somebody that will drug me.
So I don’t experience it.
Uh-uh, says, the Lord.
The happier, you will be if you identify in love with the suffering of the other.
Trust, me, everybody, your whole life will change if you let that sink in.
You say, that’s my task.
Today, is when I see suffering to enter sympathetically into it.
“Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall see God.”, That’s lovely.
I think I quoted to you before that great line from Kierkegaard.
He said, “The.
Saint is someone whose life is about one thing.”.
That means he’s a gathered person.
He’s involved with all sorts of things.
Might have a very busy life, very active.
All of it is centered around one, thing., It’s, the anchor in the rose window around, which the whole design is arranged.
You can’t name what that is, you won’t be happy., If, you’re, “Hey, I’m, a busy guy.
I’m doing this and this and ba, ba, ba, all over the place, and boy, I’m, admired,”, and, “Look at all that he’s accomplishing.” Yeah.
But if there’s no anchor in your life, there, isn’t one thing that gathers all the things that you do, then you’ll be like the demoniac in the Gospel.
Do you want of us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have? You come to destroy us?” Right? And, that’s a single person talking.
But he speaks in the splintered plural.
Blessed are the single-hearted.
The one thing you want amidst all the desires of your life? It should be to please God.
It’s related to what I said, earlier., If, you’re doing x, y, and z.
—But yeah, in all that.
Am I pleasing God? That’s.
The one thing that matters.
“Blessed, too are the peacemakers.
They shall be called the children of God.” Shalom, that lovely word that echoes up and down the Scriptures.
The risen Christ says it to his disciples: “Shalom.”, Peace, peace.
God makes the world in a great non-violent act, not suppressing some rival power.
The crucified and risen Jesus returns, not in avenging violence.
But in forgiving love.
God is peace.
One of the great marks of his followers is that they are makers of peace.
Not only are they peaceful themselves, but they produce peace.
Try it sometime if you find yourself unhappy.
How much time do you spend in the course of the day making peace? Not, just tolerating wickedness, not looking the other way, not walking away from it, but entering mercifully into it and making peace? Trust me, it’ll make you happy.
That’s, Jesus’, point., Last, one, and Pope, Francis, I’ll, close with this.
Keep this homily short.
“Blessed are those persecuted for holiness’ sake.
The, reign of God is theirs.” Again.
How counterintuitive? Who wants to be persecuted? Yeah.
But if you’re persecuted for righteousness’ sake, that means you’re walking the right path.
We’re living in a fallen world.
We’re living in a compromised world.
Nobody ever criticizes you.
You are not in a good spiritual space.
“Woe to you if all men speak, well of you,” says, the Lord.
“They treated the false prophets in just that way.” One of the great marks that you are on the right path.
The path of happiness, is that you will endure persecution.
But do it as a happy warrior;, not falling into resentment, but say, “Hey, that’s a sign that I’m on the path.
The Lord wants me to be on.” Okay, got through all eight in just about thirteen minutes.
Go to Matthew chapter five.
Walk through these.
They are the key to what we all want: beatitudo., And, God, bless you..