Read the Homily

The Beatitudes: Everyone Is Rewarded

Moses went up the mountain to receive the ten commandments. One and only one of the ten has a reward. Honor your father and mother, and you will have a long life. That is the megabucks of prizes in the ancient world because it was rare to die of old age. Jesus also went up the mountain to give us the beatitudes. All eight of them have a reward. Not only do you receive a reward, but everyone else does as well. Allow me to show you how it works. When Jesus suffered and died for us, he achieved eight tasks: the beatitudes. When Jesus was poor, and they robbed his clothing, everyone was given access to the kingdom of heaven. When Jesus was merciful on the cross and said, “Father forgive them…” everyone received mercy. When Jesus was pure of heart, everyone saw God at that moment. Even the most unlikely person–a centurion–saw God as we know from his famous words, “truly, this is the son of God.” When Jesus was a peacemaker, we all received peace; when Jesus was persecuted, we all could enjoy eternal life.

When I was in school, one of my classmates did not pass in the assignment on time. The teacher punished us all with a five-page paper. He made it clear that we all suffer when someone does something wrong. Jesus takes that principle and turns it on its head. When we do something right, we are all rewarded.  

My confrere had to give a talk to a group of sisters. They were all in the late seventies and eighties. During the talk, he asked them, “If God were here right now, what would he say to you. Keep in mind your many years of teaching children to read and write, all the elderly that you cared for in your lifetime, all the work you did for the sick and the poor. What would God say to you for fifty or sixty years of helping people.” Someone in the group said, “More.” “Why more,” asked my confrere. “Because we are not retired has-beens. We are still able to make a difference, and have a profound effect in the world.”

We can profoundly affect the world through the beatitudes because everyone is rewarded. When someone insults you, it is an opportunity to be merciful and meek. When there is war, there is an opportunity for you to provide peace. When there is sorrow, there is an opportunity for all to be comforted.

Let me ask you this question: “What would you do if you knew you only had one hour left to live. Max out your credit card?” I know someone who knew it was his last hour of life. This is what he did. He removed his dinner jacket, put a towel around his waist, and washed his disciples’ feet. That is the type of person who will change the world. Now, let us do likewise.

Back to All Homilies