Jesus came down with the Twelve and stood on a stretch of level ground with a great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon. And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way. But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep. Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.”
I remember back when I was in high school, the cheerleaders had a cheer that went something like, “be aggressive, be…be…aggressive”. They would chant it over and over again and get the entire crowd into their cheer in order to “egg-on” (encourage) our team to play even better – especially in very tough, crucial situations in the games. And, I have to admit, it really, really worked. When Jesus delivered (and we read) His famous Sermon on the Mount, He used (and uses) what we might call the “Original Cheer”. He is “egging-on” (encouraging) each and every one of us to do our best through our crucial situations – in life. This “Cheer” is what eventually would become known as “The Beatitudes”. Jesus gets right to the point of “fixing our attitudes” by telling us what attitudes we need to “be”. Just like the “be aggressive” cheer, Jesus is telling us, “be the attitude, be…be…the attitude!” We are to suffer in this world for Him by following His Ultimate Example while dragging our own Crosses across our own paths to Calvary. We are to be “poor” in Spirit, “hungry” for Jesus, “weeping” with sorrow for sin, “hated” by this world, “excluded” for our Faith, “insulted” for our mercy, and “denounced” for our love. Sounds like fun, right? But Jesus likes to end His “be’s” with a Promise(s) – a kind of Eternal “if-then” statement – like if we do His “be’s”, “the Kingdom of God is ours” and we will be “satisfied”, “laughing”, “rejoicing”, and “leaping for joy”. You see, Jesus Promised us that a life following Him on earth would not “be” easy, but that it would “be” simple. He Promised us that if the world did what it did to Him, it would do the same (or worse) to us. He even reminds His Apostles (and us) that the Jewish ancestors “treated the prophets in the same way” and most Prophets were killed by their own people, the Jews. Just like in fresh fallen snow or in the sand of a beach, Jesus’ footprints on His walk to Calvary are right there for us to follow – the same footprints where He died to the world, so that we could all have a chance at Everlasting Life with Him in Heaven. The empty tomb is a reminder to us all of what is to “be” for all of us if we accept His Call and do our best to follow Him while carrying our own Crosses in the process. So, let’s continue to allow Jesus to transform our own attitudes in this life so that we, too, can one day “be” with Him and the Heavenly Hosts in Heaven – where laughing, rejoicing, and leaping are just a glimpse of the World that awaits those who love Him.