When I was a child my family always went on summer vacation to Florida.
My father loved Florida and we would drive three days from Buffalo to get there.
The scene was always the same.
My Mom would sit in the front with a little book called the trip-tick.
She held that trip-tick the all the way from Buffalo to Sarasota trying to figure out where we were.
Believe it or not 95 was not completed back then so we used to take US 1 or Route 301.
There was no little box that sat on the dash board saying
turn right, turn left, or recalculating when you made a wrong turn.
Sometimes we got very lost.
Roads are pretty important
If you choose the right one it gets you were you want to go.
If you are on the wrong one you end up in a completely different place then you intended.
If I get on 91 north and don’t get off I know I will get to Springfield
If I get on 91 south and don’t get off I know I will end up in New Haven
The gospel today presents us with some roadmaps to heaven.
Jesus desperately wants us all to find our way home.
With the Beatitudes he shows which roads to take.
The first road is called “being poor in spirit.”
The poor of spirit those who know that they are indeed dependent on God or know they need God.
If we don’t know that we need God,
if we travel through life doing whatever we please,
if we don’t recognize that only God can show us the way to Him,
It is so easy to get lost.
The world is filled with people who have lost their way or taken the wrong road because they don’t know God.
Blessed are the poor in spirit who know they must and can depend on God.
Those who mourn are those who realize that they have made poor choices in life.
Many people go through life never figuring that out.
They are angry and upset and hurt when they never really get where they want to go.
They don’t realize that they have continually taken wrong turns and made bad choices.
Knowing that you have made a mistake and being sorry is very important.
A person who isn’t sorry is very likely to make the same wrong turns over and over again frequently these sad people take others with them.
Sorrow and guilt in the proper context are not bad things..
Sometimes people joke about Catholic guilt.
To be honest I am grateful for the gift of Catholic guilt in my life
It has helped me repent of my sins and find my way to the right road.
In the proper proportion guilt and shame are not always bad things.
Blessed are those who mourn indeed.
When Jesus speaks about the meek many people fail to really understand what he is talking about.
Somehow we have come to understand a meek person as a person who just puts up with things or someone who is long suffering a wimp if you will.
When Jesus spoke of the meek the scholars tell us that he was really talking about those who never give up, who simply persevere no matter what.
People who are meek
don’t give up on a problem child, they don’t give up on their marriage, they don’t give up on a difficult job, and they don’t give up on God.
The meek are willing to look a challenge in the eye.
Blest are the meek for the will inherit the land.
Have you ever been hungry, I mean really hungry?
Have you ever been thirsty, really thirsty?
In our country and in our times many people have never really experienced hunger or thirst.
When someone is really hungry or thirsty the desire to eat or to drink kind of overwhelms you, it’s all you can think about.
When we really hunger for righteousness,
when we really thirst for holiness,
when the desire for both consumes like hunger and thirst,
only then us can we really make progress on the road home to God.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
Let’s look at one more…
The last beatitude is perhaps the most powerful and the most challenging.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.
Finally, for some or maybe for most of us there will be a moment in our lives when our faith calls us to stand up and suffer insults or persecution.
If we truly live our faith sometimes we make ourselves to be a sign of contradiction and people notice.
Sadly, a loving,
faithful, holy man or woman
can stick out in a world which values other things.
When this happens persecution can follow.
Why does that surprise us?
Jesus himself suffered persecution because he loved.
Why would we expect anything else.
And when we accept our suffering, when we offer it up… our powerful witness can help bring others to faith.
Want to get to heaven ?
Blest are those who know they need God
Blest are those who are sorry for their sins
Blest are those who never give up trying to be holy.
Blest are those who hunger and thirst for goodness and God.
Blest are those who are blest to carry the cross of persecution like Jesus
If we follow these roads God’s roads faithfully one day we will find ourselves home.
If we don’t we won’t