Indeed, man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible. - Saint Augustine
Gospel text (Mt 5:1-12): When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up the mountain. He sat down and his disciples gathered around him. Then he spoke and began to teach them: «Fortunate are those who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Fortunate are those who mourn, they shall be comforted. Fortunate are the gentle, they shall possess the land. Fortunate are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied. Fortunate are the merciful, for they shall find mercy. Fortunate are those with a pure heart, for they shall see God. Fortunate are those who work for peace, they shall be called children of God. Fortunate are those who are persecuted for the cause of justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Fortunate are you, when people insult you and persecute you and speak all kinds of evil against you because you are my followers. Be glad and joyful, for a great reward is kept for you in God. This is how this people persecuted the prophets who lived before you».
Surely, happiness is what we all are looking for in our life. And if we would ask anyone how is he trying to be happy, or where does he look for their own happiness, we should probably get many different answers. There would be those who would claim they only find happiness in solid Christian family principles; others, in being healthy and have a job; others, who revel in friendship and leisure time..., and then, there would be those more influenced by our consumer society, who would claim that happiness consists in having plenty of money to be able to acquire as many things as possible and, most of all, to reach the highest possible social status.
The beatitudes Jesus is proposing us are not, precisely, those our world today are offering us. The Lord says that «fortunate» will be those who are poor in spirit, the gentle, those who mourn, those who hunger and thirst for justice, the merciful, those with a pure heart, those who work for the peace, those who are persecuted for the cause of justice... (cf. Mt 5:3-11).
This message by the Lord is addressed to those who want to live a life of unselfishness, of meekness, of desire for justice, of preoccupation and interest for the problems of their fellow men, and cast aside all the rest.
We can make a lot of good by praying, or by fraternally correcting those who criticize us for believing in God and belonging to the Church! Jesus clearly points this outs in the last beatitude: «Fortunate are you, when people insult you and persecute you and speak all kinds of evil against you because you are my followers!» (Mt 5:11).
St. Basil says: «Beauty, nor stature, nor honors bestowed by all mankind, nor kingship itself, nor other human attribute that one might mention, do we judge great, nay, we do not even consider them worth praying for, nor do we look with admiration upon those who possess them, but our hopes lead us forward to a more distant time, and everything we do is by way of preparation for the other life».