Have you ever thought that the way the world operates isn’t necessarily the way the world should operate? Think about it for a second. All of the ideologies such as capitalism, communism, or socialism, and the others are man-made constructs and ideas on how to manage society and keep order. Think of it this way. All of our computers have operating systems. But these operating systems change periodically because real smart people have figured out how to achieve outcomes more efficiently or better and the old ones eventually fail. So over the centuries mankind has used various Operating Systems and each of them over time have failed.
To me it seems that subconsciously mankind developed operating systems (ideologies) based upon the answer to the question: “what do I want out of life?” The most popular answer to this question is: “to be happy.” Think of the story of Adam and Eve. Their operating system was perfect, but they didn’t trust it and so they took a different path and found out quickly it was a mistake to download the version that was sold to them. Adam and Eve wanted to have the knowledge of good and evil because they wanted to be happy.
Today the operating systems of the world still are created based on seeking what make me happy. But this can’t be the answer. I love Big Mac’s and they make me happy. But if I aim to be happy then I’ll seek Big Macs and then I’ll be 500 lbs and have a heart attack and die. The world is stuck with this operating system sold to us by a snake unless we download the operating system Jesus reveals that was developed based on the answer to a different question. Instead of asking what do I want out of life Jesus operates on a system built on asking what does life want out of me?
In today’s inspired readings from Matthew, the key word is TEACH. Jesus is teaching us his operating system and the benefits of this system are called the beatitudes. Jesus is not saying that this is how things were at his time or how things are today. He taught us that there is a better method; another operating system and that could work on earth because that is how it is heaven. Jesus is the operating system. He promises that if we use his operating system that when we suffer and thirst for justice and long for peace and mercy or stand up against the bully but get pushed aside in this life, that we will find peace and mercy and compassion and joy because his operating system is developed based upon the correct question: what does life want out of me?
The answer is given to us at the end of each celebration of the mass: Go forth to love and serve the Lord by your lives. Therefore when we use Jesus as the operating system success is defined not by what you achieve or acquire in material wealth or earthly things but by how much we have loved and shown mercy and compassion to the least. That is the answer to our purpose and when we don’t get that answer right we end up with the wrong definition of success and end up with an operating system that will put us on a pathway to destruction instead of discipleship.
But to change the operating system of the world seems like such a large task because it will cause change and change brings chaos. But have no fear because Jesus comes to make all things new. The only way to create something new scientifically is to break it down and rebuild and rethink. Even though on a global scale this may be difficult, remember we are part of an operating system and Jesus is the operator we are just a one piece of that system. So we can begin downloading Jesus’ operating system with the gift of the sacrament of reconciliation where we get a chance to restart. If we can restart our lives and see through the lens of the beatitudes each day and each moment then we can rejoice and be glad for great is our reward in heaven. Mother Theresa gives us the best way to see how to live the beatitudes today:
“People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do will not be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.”