The Diocese of Brooklyn
I do not remember which of the Sisters it was but I do remember very clearly an important lesson I learned while a student at Saint Sylvester’s Grammar School in City Line. With elementary school innocence, I asked, “Sister, what grade did you give me on our test?” I was immediately corrected, “I did not ‘give’ you any grade. I merely indicated the grade you earned.” I have to confess that I used that line several times with my students while teaching High School. Those students who work hardest, complete assignments and pay closest attention are usually the ones who earn the higher grades. Students who tend to be inattentive, submit incomplete assignments and do not offer their best tend to have their lack of enthusiasm reflected on their report cards. Work bears fruit. It really is that simple.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church reads, “In the presence of Christ, who is Truth itself, the truth of each man’s relationship with God will be laid bare. The Last Judgment will reveal even to its furthest consequences the good each person has done or failed to do during his earthly life…” (#1039) Our behaviors have consequences not only in this life but also in the life to come. At the beginning of today’s Gospel passage, Jesus assumes a teaching position on a mountain to introduce the new way of living that will show us worthy of the place in heaven He won for us by His Passion and Resurrection.
If there is anything I find spectacular about the challenge of the Beatitudes is that it is so simple. Jesus outlines a philosophy of life that calls us to faithfulness in good times and acceptance in suffering. It is a challenge to turn ourselves over to the Father’s will with the promise that fidelity is not without reward. At the Last Judgment, Jesus will not give us a grade. He will simply tell us what we have earned.