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Moses’ life was threatened at infancy by a king. Jesus’ life was threatened by a king. Moses left Egypt, Jesus left Egypt with His parents; Moses entered the desert for forty years, Jesus entered the desert for forty days. Moses went up the mountain to deliver the law; Jesus went up a mountain to deliver the law; Moses prepared the people for the Promised Land, Jesus prepares the people for the Kingdom of God. There are striking similarities between the two. But there is a difference. Moses gives a law that will prevent people from suffering. If we steal, people suffer, if we kill, many families, friends, and colleges are devastated; if we commit adultery, families are broken up. Moses gives a law that will prevent people from getting hurt. Jesus however, gives us the Beatitudes which are entirely different. Jesus gives laws so that we will be blessed. When we are peacemakers, people benefit, when we are meek and humble, people are blessed, when we are pure of heart, people are enriched; when we hunger and thirst for righteousness, when we live Christ’s life even though we sometimes get we get harassed, people’s lives improve. Jesus gives us laws so that people will be blessed.
Every Labor Day weekend thousands of college students arrive and the city fills up with moving vans and U-Hauls. I was walking over to St. Cecilia to celebrate a Mass that weekend and I walked by one of those U-Hauls. I saw a sofa on the sidewalk with a young student sitting on it, waiting for his buddy to help him carry it into the apartment. He was hunched over with his head buried in his hands. I am sure he was thinking “What did I get myself into…Why would I ever want to do this?” If he wanted my advice, I would tell him,
“I know you must be feeling homesick. You miss your friends, and you would like to be in your favorite pizza joint right now. But you are in a big city, everything is different and you do not know anyone. On to top of this, you will be undertaking a huge challenge and your teachers, if your school is one of the best, will be making demands of you. They will hold you to expectations at levels you never knew before. You will need to achieve excellence. You may be having doubts about all of this right now but I am telling you that you need to do this. The world is now going to be a better place. You will acquire skills and knowledge that will help you make a difference. Your family will be blessed because you will be a person who will be helping others with your gifts that will grow from this experience. Your children will be blessed. The world will be a better place because you decided to leave your comfort zone and make a sacrifice that will benefit others.”
A confrere had to give a talk to a group of Sisters. They were all in the late seventies and early eighties. This is what he told 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 as nuns, 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?” A sister raised her hand and said, God would say, ‘Thank you.’” My friend said to her, “God would not say thank you. He would say to you, ‘More, give Me more.’” The same sister raised her hand again and admitted, “Actually, that is what we hoped God would say. That means we can still make a difference in the world.”
Saints are not just people who obey the commandments whereby they do not hurt others. Saints are those who follow a set of beatitudes that help and benefit others.
Let me ask you, “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 took off his dinner jacket, put a towel around his waist, and washed the feet of His disciples. After He was done, He said to His stunned followers, “Now,do the same.”Back to All Homilies