When we think about attaining heaven, the first thing that might come to our mind is purity, righteousness, sanctity, holiness, saints etc. We even start thinking about extraordinary things to do in order attain it. It is a known fact that holiness of life guarantees us heaven, but how can we attain this holiness. In today’s gospel reading, from the gospel of St. Matthew Chapter 5, verse 1 to 12, Jesus gives us the beatitudes to show us what will help us attain the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus in the beatitudes, uses the ordinary things or ordinary practices of life to point us toward heaven. He starts with the word “Blessed” in the beatitudes, to remind us that these ordinary or simple practices that might seem insignificant to us, can and will lead us to heaven. These practices are - being poor in spirit, mourning for others, being meek, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, being merciful, being clean of heart, being peacemakers, being persecuted for the sake of righteousness, being insulted and having every kind of evil uttered against us falsely because of God. This might even include being kind, loving, welcoming, charitable, caring, straightforward etc. So according to Jesus, when we practice these, we are blessed indeed and should rejoice and be glad, because our reward will be great in heaven.

My dear friends in Christ, as Saint Teresa of Calcutta once said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” With the beatitudes, we are reminded that the kingdom of heaven is attainable, and that we are indeed blessed when we live out and practice the virtues. It is time to stop trying to do extraordinary things, that sometimes might seem very overwhelming for us to achieve, rather, for us to focus on doing ordinary things like those mentioned in the beatitudes to attain the kingdom of heaven. Never forget the advice of Saint Therese of Lisieux, which says, “Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant count as nothing.” So, let us start practicing these virtues mentioned by Jesus in the beatitudes today, and other virtues as well, because when we do so, our reward will be great in heaven.