THEY ARE THE ONES WHOSE LIVES REFLECTED THE PERFECTION AND HUMILITY OF THE BEATITUDES
(A biblical reflection on the FEAST OF ALL SAINTS – Sunday, 1 November 2015
Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:1-12
First Reading: Revelation 7:2-4,9-14; Psalms: Psalm 24:1-6; Second Reading: 1John 3:1-3
The Scripture Text
Seeing the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and when He sat down His disciples came to Him. And He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:1-12 RSV)
The feast of All Saints reminds us of all the men, women, and children who now worship the Lord in heaven and pray for us on earth. They are the ones whose lives reflected the perfection and humility of the Beatitudes. They are the ones who embraced Jesus’ call to become like Him and allow His Spirit to free them from sin. They testify that anyone can become saint – anyone can become a citizen of heaven.
This is a day to recognize not only the martyrs and canonized saints of our faith, but the entire host of unknown witnesses who have also lived lives of faithfulness and holiness and have received their eternal reward. Some of these saints may even include people we have known – family members, friends, and business associates: anyone with “clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:4).
In the book of Revelation, John described a vision of the heavenly host that overwhelmed him. “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?” (Revelation 7:13), he asked the angel. The reply? “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14-15).
All God asks is that we continually keep our hearts clean before Him. All He asks is that we look to Him for the wisdom and power we need to live as His daughters and sons. He will do the rest.
Jesus holds out the conditions and promises of sainthood for everyone. Let us take comfort and courage from the power of His Spirit within us. Let us also find encouragement in the prayers of the saints who have gone before us. On this day, when we celebrate our communion with all the saints of heaven, let us rejoice in Jesus’ promise that we will receive rewards for following Him – now and in the life to come.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, the saints in heaven behold Your glory and know the rewards of Your life. Fill me with hope in Your promise of eternal life. May we all share the joy of Your saints in heaven. Amen.
Jakarta, 31 October 2015
A Christian Pilgrim