Homily — 4th Sun. OT A Feb. 3, 2008

Homily — 4th Sun. OT A Feb. 3, 2008

This Sunday, we see Jesus sitting on top of the mountain, teaching the stadium sized crowd gathered below Him the heart and soul of His Gospel, what we call the Beatitudes.

The Beatitudes are found at the beginning of Chapter 5 of Matthew’s Gospel. Chapter 4 of Matthew’s Gospel begins with Jesus going into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights to do battle with the Satan (which we will read next weekend, the First Sunday of Lent).

It’s appropriate that the Beatitudes were given by Jesus so soon after his 40 days in the desert. Because in the desert, Jesus battles our #1 enemy, the Devil, straight on and emerges victorious, while in the Beatitudes, Jesus battles our #2 enemy, the World, straight on, and emerges victorious.

Because the beatitudes Jesus gives us are directly opposed to the beatitudes the World gives us.

Jesus says Blessed — truly Happy and Grace filled — are the poor — those whose main treasure in life is the Faith. But the world says “Blessed are the Rich — money, power and fame are where’s it’s at. He who dies with the most toys wins.”

Jesus says Blessed are the sorrowful — those who open their hearts to the pain other people are experiencing, those who mourn over the sin and injustice that surrounds them. But the World says “Blessed are the Laughing — those who eat drink and make merry while closing their hearts to the cries of the poor.”

Jesus says Blessed are the Meek and Humble, who realize their littleness and their need for God in their lives. But the world tells us “Blessed are the Proud — don’t let God or anyone else get in your way — be your own God.

Jesus says Blessed are the Hungry and Thirsty — those who hunger and thirst for holiness, those striving each day to be a better Christian. But the world says to us “Blessed are the content. An informed conscience will only get you into trouble; Ignorance is bliss, don’t rock the boat.”

Jesus says Blessed are the Merciful, those who strive to forgive others; while the World says “Blessed are the Vengeful, give them back double what they gave you.

Jesus says Blessed and Happy are the clean of Heart, who strive to banish from their minds and from their bodies sinful and unchaste thoughts and actions, they shall see God. But the World says “Forget that. Blessed rather are the sexually liberated. Don’t be an old fashioned prude, only the good die young. But don’t forget to practice ‘safe sex’.” (The World neglects to mention the thousands of people who contracted diseases practicing so called ‘safe sex’.”)

Jesus says Blessed are the Peace makers, and the World counters “No, blessed are the Peace Breakers in this dog eat dog world.

And finally, Jesus says “Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness . . . Blessed are you when they persecute you for following me;” While the World is whispering in our other ear “Blessed rather are those who are Praised by Me, those who keep their faith a private matter so as not offend someone with it.”

Yes, the World offers us a much different set of Beatitudes than Jesus offers. Jesus’ Beatitudes and the World’s Beatitudes are as opposed to each other as the Patriots are opposed to the Giants. But for the past 2008 years, Jesus’ Beatitudes have been and will continue to be undefeated in their battle with the World’s.

So, if you want to be on the losing team, go ahead and follow the World’s Beatitudes. You’ll find a small amount of temporary happiness, followed by a great deal of long term misery.

But if we reject the happiness this fallen world offers us and follow Jesus’ Beatitudes, after a small amount of temporary immediate sadness, we’ll start to experience a deep happiness and peace in this life, and an eternal reward of happiness in the Kingdom of Heaven to come.

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